On a snowy and bitterly cold December, (Saturday, Dec 17) at 12PM sharp, 50+ hearty souls gathered at Albacore Park to partake in the annual nationwide Wreaths Across America observance. In what proved to be a snug and intimate affair due to the harsh weather conditions outside, the event was held largely indoors, in the Park’s Visitor Center museum space, with Kevin Galeaz, Commander, Thresher Base, US Submarine Veterans serving as emcee for the ceremony. Mrs. Carol Norton, daughter of Fred Philips Abrams, US Army veteran and a civilian inspector of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who was lost on the USS Thresher (593) graciously served as the guest speaker, discussing her father’s service to our Nation in Italy during the Second World War, the emotional toll combat operations took from him, and the enormous loss she and her family experienced with his death aboard Thresher in 1963.
Through Mrs. Norton’s words the meaning of the Wreaths Across America observance was laid bare: by remembering the sacrifices of those who have served our country living and deceased we ensure that their struggles have not been in vain. These sentiments were echoed by Thresher Base’s Kevin Galeaz’ parting remarks, spoken as the memorial wreaths were laid outside in the Park’s Memorial Garden just as the storm was reaching its height:
“The wreaths before you represent our commitment as a United America to remember the fallen. We also want these remembrance wreaths to symbolize our honor to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces of our great nation and to their families who endure sacrifices everyday on our behalf. To our children, we want you to understand the freedoms you enjoy today have not been free but have come with a cost that someday, you may have to pay yourself. As a nation standing together, we can defeat terrorism, hatred and injustice. Thanks to our Veterans, we have the freedom to do just that.”
December 17, 2016 Wreaths Across America Ceremony @ Albacore Park.
Keynote Speaker: Carol Norton, Daughter of PNS Civilian Inspector Fred Phillip Abrams.
US Navy: Bill Tebo, US Navy WWII Submarine Veteran
US Army: Josh Denton, US Army, 3-27 Artillery Battalion, 2003-2007
US Air Force: George Milliken, USAF 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 1971-1975
US Marine Corps: Charles Skinner, USMC 2nd Marine Division
US Coast Guard: Mark Ladrie, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, 2011-Present
US Merchant Marines: Bob Flannery, US Navy Submarine Service, 1951-1955
POW-MIA: Bernard McAfee, US Army, 2st Armored Division, 1970-1971
To view all the photographs taken during the ceremony, go to: https://flic.kr/s/aHskRxdsdu