Emotions run high at wreath-laying ceremony in Beaumont - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Emotions run high at wreath-laying ceremony in Beaumont

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It was a highly emotional day at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Beaumont Saturday, as dozens gathered for special ceremony honoring fallen soldiers and veterans.

It was an especially trying day for Orange resident Major Connie Wooley. She recently lost her son, Lance Corporal Christopher Allan Wooley, after he was killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident in California this past September.

"He was 21, he was married and had a young son and he has a little girl on the way," Major Wooley told 12News Saturday. "The last thing that he had talked to his wife about was that he wanted to have another child, and he wanted it to be a girl, so he actually got everything he ever wanted."

Saturday's ceremony was part of a nationwide event called Wreaths Across America. It started in 1992 when a man who owned a wreath company donated 5,000 wreaths to be placed on the graves of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Over the years the tradition has spread to 800 locations in all 50 states.

Wooley, an officer in Civil Air Patrol, has been leading the ceremony at Forest Lawn for the past 3 years.

"Each year I have laid a wreath in honor of my son... this year is very different. (Today) I lay one in his memory," said Wooley as she tearfully addressed the crowd.

Before everyone on hand grabbed a wreath to place on a grave, Wooley placed one under the U.S. Marine Corps flag in honor of her son.

"Such a wonderful son, who succeeded in his life, who fulfilled his dream of becoming a United States Marine," said Wooley.

A total of 90 wreaths were placed at pre-marked graves at Forest Lawn.

It was also an emotional day for Bridge City resident and retired marine Bobby Vincent, who served during the Korean War.

"Very emotional, it brings back memories that most people don't like to surface, but when you get caught up in this, and you're in the midst of honoring these men and women... it's amazing," said Vincent.

While their circumstance are different, both Wooley and Vincent shared the same sentiments on this patriotic day.

"It was an honor to be here, and my privilege.," said Vincent.

"I'm very honored, very honored," said Wooley.
Wooley said her son's daughter is expected to be born in May.
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