"Wreaths Across America" campaign for fallen veterans kicks off

"Wreaths Across America" campaign for fallen veterans kicks off for 11th consecutive year in Lubbock

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

More than 1.5 million wreaths were placed on veteran headstones at 1,400 cemeteries across the nation last year.

Each year, the nonprofit organization, "Wreaths Across America," holds a ceremony during the holiday season to remember our fallen veterans. 

One of those ceremonies will be held in Lubbock, which makes it 11 years in a row through the Civil Air Patrol.

Tammy Preidis, captain in the Civil Air Patrol, said the mission for "Wreaths Across America" has three principles: Remember our veterans, honor our veterans, and educate the next generation. 

"It's very important that we honor our veterans. It's what America is all about. We've got to understand why we really are free," Tammy Preidis said.

Ben Preidis is a flight officer in the Civil Air Patrol and fourth-generation family member in the military.

He said his goal is to help take charge in educating people his age.

"My brother and I, whenever we see a veteran, no matter where they are, in a store, at a gas station, we go and immediately shake their hand and just talk to them and thank them for their service," Ben Preidis said.

Ben's brother, Jon, is also with the Civil Air Patrol.

He said these wreaths are more than just a symbol of appreciation, but a reminder to never forget the men and women who sacrificed their lives.

"I know, since I am fourth-generation military, that I do want to remember what they lost so that we may gain and keep our freedom," Jon Preidis said.

Ben and Jon's mother, Tammy, said she hopes it can give the platform for others to share the stories of every fallen veteran in Lubbock. 

"If you're going to be laying a wreath on a plot or cemetery site, know their names, say their name out loud, and then go tell somebody else about that person about what that person's name is, what their rank was, what their service was, and when they served," Tammy Preidis said.

She added there are currently 2,000 veterans confirmed in the Lubbock City Cemetery, but that number may not be completely accurate because there is not an official record.

The official ceremony is on December 15th. 

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