Fort Reno DAR will lay 83 wreaths at Saturday ceremony

Brief ceremony planned to honor soldiers Dec. 19 at historic Fort Reno Cemetery

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Fort Reno DAR member Linda Powell, a U.S. Air Force veteran, sets a wreath for the Air Force during the December 2019 wreath-laying ceremony at historic Fort Reno. Looking on is Fort Reno DAR Chapter Regent Nicky Howell. (Photo provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – Although their traditional pre-Christmas ceremony will be scaled back, a group of volunteers is preparing to lay 83 wreaths on soldiers’ graves at a historic Canadian County venue.

The Fort Reno chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will present their 10th annual “Wreaths Across America” ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Fort Reno Cemetery, 7107 W. Cheyenne St.

The public is invited to the 1 p.m. observance, on national Wreaths Across America Day.
“We’ll be laying wreaths sponsored by friends of the community,” said Leslie Dietrich, Fort Reno DAR’s honorary chapter regent. “We plan to lay 83 wreaths; that should cover the soldiers buried at the cemetery. We hope that we can cover the Indian scouts as well.”

The upcoming ceremony will look different this year because of COVID-19. Although the program will be outdoors, attendees will be required to wear face masks and the crowd may be limited.

“We are doing a cemetery-only ceremony,” Dietrich said. “We will keep it short to accommodate the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guideline of 15 minutes or less.

“The last few years, we’ve had it in the chapel, and it’s been a wonderful ceremony. It’s sad that we can’t do that this year.”

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WREATH COST COVERED

When the Fort Reno DAR started this project, volunteers made the wreaths – more than 1,000 one year – but the effort just became too much for participating members.

So, in recent years the chapter has received wreaths through Wreaths Across America.

“The cost of the wreaths has been covered this year by members and other groups that have donated money toward the wreaths,” Dietrich said. “Anyone who wants to sponsor a wreath is welcome to, and it can carry over to next year.”

Visit wreathsacrossamerica.org and look for “Fort Reno Post Cemetery.”

More than 1,000,000 women have joined the DAR organization since it was founded in 1890. They became members to honor their heritage and to make a difference in their communities – across the country and the world.

The Fort Reno DAR chapter has 44 members. Yukon’s Nicky Howell is the chapter regent.

Fort Reno DAR members Debbie Bradfield and Lana McCormack lay wreaths last year during the chapter’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Fort Reno Cemetery, 7107 W Cheyenne in El Reno. (Photo provided)