More than 35 volunteers gathered at the Osakis Armed Forces Memorial in 5-degree weather on Dec. 14 to pay tribute to veterans.

After holding a brief program, they placed 387 wreaths on veterans' grave sites at seven local cemeteries — Evergreen, West Evergreen, Calvary, Pleasant Hill, Lakeside, Elim Lutheran and Salem.

It was all part of Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit group that heads up the effort. Similar ceremonies took place at more than 1,500 cemeteries across the U.S.

"We had a broad base of volunteers," said Cassie Mead, quartermaster for the Osakis VFW Post 7902. "It was really successful and we had so many wreaths we were able to add a cemetery this year — Salem."

The deep snow was a bit of a hindrance when placing the wreaths, Mead said, but they used stands to raise the wreaths above the snowbanks.

It was the fourth year that Osakis took part in the event.

The three primary goals of the effort are:

  • To remember the fallen veterans through the holiday season.
  • To honor those who served and those who still serve.
  • To teach the younger generations that there is a cost to the freedom Americans have.