HOLIDAY WREATHS PLACED ON VETERANS' GRAVESTONES

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - For the last three years, the west Texas patriot guard riders have taken wreaths just like this one and place them in Odessa. but this year, they decided to

try it out in Midland and place wreaths on the graves of veterans who we've lost to honor and remember them this Christmas.

It's their final resting place here at Fairgrounds Cemetery

For many veterans who gave their all.

"they fought for us, if they didn't, our country would be taken over." said Rylen Prickett, 8-year-old volunteer.

The West Texas Patriot Guard Riders are making sure they're still being remembered this holiday season.

"we're speaking their names, saluting them. Letting them know they're not forgotten. as long as their names are spoken, they still live." said Mark Cooper, The West Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

1,200 holiday wreaths placed on the headstones of veterans.

former West Elementary principal, Clint Adams, wanted to something special for the soldiers fighting in the Vietnam war 50 years ago.  He decided to have

students write letters. their letters reached one Marine by the name of Raymond Niedecken who wrote a letter back

"he never mentioned the war, he was right in the thick of it. coming up on Christmas time, I told the teacher lets to do something special for Raymond. have

the kids Christmassy kind of things. they did. got my big envelope. sent a big envelope that time." said Clint Adams, The West Texas Patriot Guard Riders.
but Raymond never got that envelope.

"we went back to school, the postman came in and said Clint, I have an envelope for you that's been returned. And I looked and I thought, dear god.  it was

stamped KIA killed in action. I didn't want to tell the kids that Raymond had been killed. so for a lot of years, somebody has placed a wreath on that grave." said Clint Adams, The West Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

these soldiers might be gone. but never forgotten.

"we are not here to decorate their grave. we are here to remember not their deaths, but their lives." said Teresa Galloway, The West Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

Making sure their stories live forever.

IN MIDLAND, JULIE CASTANEDA, NEWSWEST 9.

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