Vermont cadets struggle to keep memory of veterans alive

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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) Thousands of Wreaths Across America volunteers took part in the national effort, laying wreaths at the graves of veterans.

About a dozen people turned out Saturday for the wreath-laying ceremony at Fort Ethan Allen Cemetery in Colchester.

"They're not really dead if you remember them, and their legacy carries on," said Ethan Ravlin, a Champlain Valley Union High School freshman.

Those that came placed their hands on their hearts in honor of veterans that have passed. The Civil Air Patrol cadets laid wreaths down but not every grave got a wreath.

"That's something that we struggle with because there's a lot of graves. and our squadron is really small right now," said Isaac Clifford, a Mt. Abraham Union High School freshman.

Wreaths Across America is a major fundraiser for the cadets. This year, they were only able to get sponsored wreaths for 113 of the more than 500 veterans laid to rest in the cemetery. With the exception of one generous year, when one donor gave about 800 wreaths, the cadets have never reached their goal. Organizers admit it's a tough time to fundraise.

"It is the holidays, and they have their own families, and they may not have a veteran that they know about," said Barbara Leary, the event's organizer.

These young people are not giving up.

"Now during the holidays, it's more important than ever that we're all coming together, for family to come together to support something like the country that everyone regardless of your beliefs we can, we all want to support the country, and support the people that help fight so we can be here and be free," said Rosie Newton, a Bellows Falls Academy senior.

"Not everybody is going to be known by every single person in the world, but if a couple people remember you, it's an amazing thing," Ravlin said.