Families honor deceased veterans by laying wreaths for the holidays

Recognizing and honoring those who have laid their lives down to serve this country with a special wreath to let them know that they're not forgotten during the holidays.

Darlene Mortensen, says "It is a special time of the year to celebrate the life, to celebrate the birth of Christ and to remember them through the fact that they were here and served our country."

Veterans of each branch of the military, the Merchant Marine, Prisoners of War and those that are Missing in Action all represented at the wreath laying ceremony and honored by Knights of Columbus, military services, Veterans and their families.

Darlene Mortensen has 10 relatives resting in the Black Hills National Cemetery one being her grandfather who served in both WWI and WWII.

She says there's two things that these brave souls should always receive

Mortensen says, "Respect and love, they sacrificed alot to end up being buried here"

Mortensen brought her great niece Bridgette along to get a glimpse of her significant history.

Bridgette Klasinski, says "It's kind of special, I haven't really met a lot of my relatives and so it's kind of cool to visit them."

The greenery of remembrance were donated through Wreaths Across America, a campaign that began in 2006.

Jerome Smith, Assistant Cemetery Director, says "The wreath is to let them know that we as benefactors of their service are here to recognize and thank them."

The cemetery planned to enhance 18,000 graves with a wreath this year and are already planning for next year's ceremony.>