The Blue Star Mothers of Rogers County spent Saturday hosting Claremore's third annual National Wreaths Across America ceremony.
The group told News On 6 last year that they didn't have enough wreaths for Claremore Cemetery. They said that wasn't the case at all this year.
American Legion placed white crosses throughout Woodlawn Cemetery where wreaths rest honoring service men and women, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.
Matt Shearer is an Army veteran who served during Desert Storm.
"Being able to say that I served, that's an honor, but it's an even bigger honor to come out here and serve the ones that went before us,” Shearer said.
The annual Wreaths Across America distribution was canceled last month due to the pandemic. However, the Secretary of the Army helped reverse the decision, encouraging Arlington National Cemetery officials to continue cautiously. Communities like Claremore followed suit.
"What the Army did for me I can never repay,” Shearer said. “It taught me a lot about myself. How to push myself. Also, about brotherhood.”
The Rogers County Blue Star Mothers were escorted from Elks Lodge to Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore. The group's president Wanda Inman said they set a goal of about 2,100 wreaths for veterans buried at Woodlawn and Oakhaven cemeteries.
They ended up with more than 2,700 wreaths and were able to also distribute them to smaller cemeteries across the county.
"My brother-in-law served in Vietnam and he was shot but he wasn't killed. But he would do it again, he said,” said Inman. “So the pride that our veterans have and have had is very touching and it's heartfelt for me."
Inman said Saturday’s ceremony honored each branch of the armed forces, veterans who have taken their own lives and gold star families.
When the Blue Star Mothers were asked what thoughts ran through their minds while walking on this American soil, some said they can't help but relive history and count their blessings that their children's service didn't end in a burial.
“We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for them,” Inman said.
Shearer described his service as an enjoyable experience that never truly leaves you.
"I would do it in a heartbeat again: Serve this country,” Shearer said.