During President Kennedy's inaugural address he also stated, "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger."
It's the mission of Wreaths Across America to remember the sacrifice of those generations, honor those who follow in their duty and teach younger generations who have never experienced true tyranny and oppression the responsibility and costs of freedom.
It's safe to say that millions of people across this nation volunteer their time in community service to be sure our heroes are never forgotten and Wreaths Across America gives these proud Americans like Charlotte Chism Waldrum and Judy Carlile a "high five" for their dedication and commitment to the cause.
In 2017, Wreaths Across America continues to share stories about our remarkable volunteers and what motivates them to serve.
U.S. Army Cpl David Unger was the first Iraq KIA October 17, 2006, from Leavenworth, Kansas and his "Army Mom" Diana Pitts is the WAA Location Coordinator for Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery and says she'll work to remember their service and say their names "as long as she's able to take a breath."
Diana's military connections run deep as her second eldest son, Sgt. Jeremy Unger has been deployed twice to Afghanistan. Her son-in-law also serves our nation in the armed forces. Diana has provided assistance to other military families for twenty-nine years in her role as the Watchcare Coorindator at the Frontier Chapel.
"Wreaths Across America has been a part of my life that has assisted in my healing from the loss of my oldest son," Diana explains. "It allows me to "give back" in his memory and service."
According to Diana, Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was originally one of the largest of fourteen National Cemeteries created in 1862 by President Lincoln. It is fairly unique as it is a VA cemetery located on an active Army military installation. It houses burials dated to 1844, which is that of Clarinda Dale, a civilian. Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery has eight Medal of Honor (MOH) recipients buried there and of those eight, Tom Custer is a double MOH recipient. Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery has been open to a WAA wreath-laying event since 2010.
Diana is also the coordinator for the annual State House Ceremony and is seen pictured above at the podium talking about the importance of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach.
"I am proud to be an American because I get up every day and am free. I can work where I choose; worship as I see fit without fear, I can and have raised my five children without fear. My daughters are free to get an education and live amazing lives. My sons, can work and love their families as they choose. I am proud to be an "American Military Mom" who has two sons, one giving the ultimate sacrifice in uniform in the Iraq War and one who serves today in the U.S. Military securing our freedom. I am also a proud mother-in-law, whose son-in-law protects our freedom every day. My pride runs deep in those three colors of red, white and blue and my heart thanks, those who serve and have served."
If you're in Diana's neck of the woods in Kansas consider joining her team of hard-working volunteers, or show your respect through community service at Arlington National Cemetery or at any of our other 1,228participating cemeteries throughout the country.