Wreath-laying ceremony at Fort Snelling honors fallen veterans

(FOX 9)

Hundreds of people took a break from the Christmas chaos on Saturday to remember those who have served.

The "Wreaths Across America" ceremony at Fort Snelling was one of hundreds being held across the country.

"Every year, there’s more people," explained James Garlough of the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol. "And it’s amazing the support that this event gets, and the number of folks that show up is absolutely remarkable. We’re really honored that the families and the community is really, very supportive."

Every single year, there are wreath-laying ceremonies across the U.S. at 1,600 locations. The message: Remember, honor, teach. That’s remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach your children the value of freedom -- something Cadet Captain Ainsley Durand seems to already understand.

"Freedom isn’t free," said Durand. "We have to keep protecting those freedoms, we have to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves as a nation."

(FOX 9)

While the people at the event may not have known each other, they likely share some of the same feelings this time of year.

"I think the holidays are a tough time when you’re missing a loved one," said Garlough. "This gives them an opportunity in a formal setting to come out and recognize that their loved one who served is here and sort of include that as part of their holiday tradition."

The nationwide tradition started in 2005 after a photo of wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery went viral.