LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The cadets of the La Crosse Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol honored local veterans Saturday.
As part of an effort called Wreaths Across America, the squadron is honoring local military men and women who sacrificed their lives serving the country.
The cadets laid wreaths on veterans' gravesites at Woodlawn Cemetery. They did this simultaneously with other squads across the nation.
For Cadet Commander John Brennan, it was a way to connect with the local men and women who gave so much to protect Americans' freedoms.
The same dedication he hopes to give the country if he joins the Air Force after college.
"You think about who it is you're laying this wreath down for, who they are, what they did, what their rank was, who is their family and what is their story," Brennan said.
It's that kind of reflection that Maj. Todd Mandel, deputy commander of cadets, hopes all 34 of his cadets take away from today's initiative.
"We're all very busy with the holidays and it's nice to take time out the sacrifice that others have made," Mandel said.
"There's a widow, there's a son a daughter who will come out eventually and look at these grave stones and all of a sudden there's a wreath sitting out here so it's an incredible honor to bring joy to their lives and show we haven't forgotten our veterans," Brennan said.
Cadets, who range from ages 13-18, laid 138 wreaths on graves.
Logistics Health Incorporated, Mayo Clinic Health System and the public funded the wreaths.
More than 80,000 wreaths were placed at gravesites across the country.
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