Dozens of volunteers converged on the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery to unload four semi-trucks loaded with Christmas wreaths.
It's part of a national wreath laying ceremony event at veterans cemeteries all over the country. Beginning Saturday morning 16,000 wreaths purchased through donations and local fundraising will be laid at grave sites throughout the sprawling cemetery.
Many of the volunteers have never been in the service, but they know people who are buried at one of the countries newest national cemeteries which opened nearly a decade ago.
"Me being deaf the way I am, I can't join the service, and this is how I give back," said volunteer Brian Blevin.
Kathy Watson is the M.C. for the formal part of the ceremony. She's volunteered to lay wreaths since the cemetery opened. In 2006 local organizers needed just 300 wreaths. Watson says it's important for here to be a part of the event.
"Remembering each and every one of these people because there veterans out here who don’t have family, so we’re remembering those people…It’s very moving for me too personally I have a friends’ husband who is out here,” said Watson.
The trucks are unloaded but there is more work to be done tomorrow morning before the formal ceremony. That's when upwards of 1,500 people will lay the wreaths at each grave site. Organizers say Sacramento Valley National Cemetery is one of the in the country where nearly every veteran interred will get their own wreath.
Volunteers say the the sight is impressive.
"It changes you, it makes you want to come back and do it more," said Blevin, who is working on his seventh wreath laying ceremony.