Drivers who are veterans deliver wreaths to cemetery at West Point

Wreaths placed on graves at the West Point cemetery

On an unusually mild and perfectly sunny Saturday, more than 200 volunteers gathered high above the Hudson River about an hour’s drive north of New York City to make sure more than several thousand members of the U.S. military were properly remembered.

Mark Dickinson (left) and Randy Scott, drivers who delivered wreaths to West Point

Two tractor-trailers driven by military veterans delivered the cargo sent by Wreaths Across America to the cemetery at the West Point Military Academy. Before the end of the day Saturday, Dec. 5, balsam wreaths tied with red ribbons were laid upon all of the graves, all 7,004 of them.

Cadets from the academy founded in 1802, members of its faculty, kids from an elementary school and a church youth group and plenty of neighbors unloaded one truck from Pinnacle Freight Lines and another from Perdue Farms, which is based in Salisbury, Md. After a brief ceremony, they were joined by family members whose loved ones are buried at West Point in laying the wreaths of remembrance on the graves.

Volunteers unloaded the two trucks loaded with wreaths

Wreaths will be laid on the graves of veterans at other cemeteries – including 230,000 at Arlington National Cemetery – Saturday, Dec. 12, the organization’s official day of remembrance. (West Point’s wreath laying was moved up a week so as not to conflict with the annual Army vs. Navy football game Dec. 12.)

Wreath on the front of Mark Dickinson’s truck

Mark Dickinson, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran drove Perdue’s truck to the event. Randy Scott, a veteran of the Royal Engineers in the British Army, drove the one from Pinnacle, a truckload carrier based in Secaucus, NJ. It was Scott’s second delivery to West Point for Wreaths Across America.

Both Dickinson and Scott laid wreaths on graves before returning to the road.

Dr. Todd Crowder, a professor at West Point, and Jackie and Dan McNally organized the day’s events. They’ve been involved since 2010, when they and a few other volunteers placed wreaths on just 70 graves for the first time.

The organizers said they had enough money for 6,000 wreaths this year until the Wounded Warriors Project stepped up to ensure they had enough for every grave.

Many of the 7,004 wreaths laid on graves at the West Point cemetery in front of Randy Scott’s truck

Among the graves covered at West Point were those of:

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally
  • Gen. George Armstrong Custer
  • Major General Daniel Bufferfield, composer of “Taps”
  • Heisman Trophy Winner “Bullet” Glenn Davis
  • Gen. Norman Schwarzhopf, commander of coaltion forces in the Gulf War
  • Gen. William Westmoreland
  • Lt. Col. Edward White III, the U.S. astronaut to make the first space walk and who died in the Apollo I fire
  • 2nd Lt. Emily Perez, the first female West Point grad to die in combat in the Iraq War in 2006

Img 6675

Img 6559

Img 6577

Img 6667

Img 6650

Mark Dickinson's truck at West Point with Vietnam War campaign ribbon on the frontMark Dickinson's truck at West Point with Vietnam War campaign ribbon on the front

Perdue Farms truck positioned at West PointPerdue Farms truck positioned at West Point

Randy ScottRandy Scott

Randy Scott (left), Mark Dickinson and Dr. Todd Crowder, one of the organizers of the wreaths project at West PointRandy Scott (left), Mark Dickinson and Dr. Todd Crowder, one of the organizers of the wreaths project at West Point

Img 6807

Volunteers who helped unload trucks and lay wreaths on gravesVolunteers who helped unload trucks and lay wreaths on graves

Randy ScottRandy Scott

Mark DickinsonMark Dickinson

Img 6825

Img 6793

Img 6847

Img 6962

Img 6872

Img 6919

Img 6875

Img 6929

West Point cadets after unloading the Perdue truckWest Point cadets after unloading the Perdue truck

Gold Star MothersGold Star Mothers

Img 6969

Img 7001

Img 6961

Img 6990

Img 6996

Gen. George Armstrong Custer's graveGen. George Armstrong Custer's grave

Img 6977

Randy Scott lays a wreath on a grave at West PointRandy Scott lays a wreath on a grave at West Point

Img 7095

Img 7119

Img 7128

The Perdue Farms truck and trailerThe Perdue Farms truck and trailer