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Volunteers Show Patriotic Support

A group of local volunteers are spreading the message of “Remember. Honor. Teach” as part of the mission statement for Wreaths Across America. A few years ago, local coordinator Linda Smith, along with her husband Lee Smith, of Martin, made it their goal to have every veteran buried in Eastside Cemetery in Martin remembered and honored with a fresh, evergreen wreath during the Christmas holiday as part of a local Wreaths Across America effort. Since then, the local effort has grown to include volunteers Sue Priest, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and Linda Lofton, who works the DAR branch in Union City. In 2021, Wreaths Across America expanded to include Dresden’s Sunset Cemetery and Union City’s Beulah Cemetery. The volunteer efforts last throughout the year, as local activities are being planned that recognize veterans and servicemembers, as well as teaching the community about significant dates honoring America’s patriotism. Last week (June 12-18) was proclaimed as National Flag Week. Volunteers gathered on the court square in Dresden, Crank’d Up Garage on Main Street in Martin and in Union City to wave flags in support of Flag Week. On Monday, members of the Civil Air Patrol conducted a flag-folding ceremony and presentation in front of Weakley County’s War Memorial on the courthouse lawn. On hand for the event were CAP senior members and cadets of Everett Stewart Composite Squadron TN 195, active-duty members of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, retired U.S. Coast Guard and a U.S. Navy veteran. Headmaster of Martin’s Central Christian Academy Larry Reagan provided the invocation. Pictured in the flag-folding line-up are Cadet Sr. Airman Nicole Leigh Parsons; LTC Bernard House, Professor of Military Science at UT Martin; Cadet Airman Daniel Arthur Lankford; Cadet Staff Sgt. Charles M. Parsons; Larry Priest USGC-retired; Michelle Tjaden Navy veteran; Lt. Col. H. Leland Smith, Director of Homeland Security (CAP). WAA coordinator for Sunset Cemetery of Dresden and USCG veteran Sue Priest was saluted by Sgt. Finnegan. Showing flag-waving support were Dresden mayoral candidate and veteran Brandi George and Mason George. For more information about upcoming community projects or wreath sponsorship, contact Lin Smith at or Sue Priest at

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