Roy Exum: A Thanksgiving Request

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Just what if … this Thursday you could say "Thank you" to someone who, chances are, you never met nor even heard the other’s name? There is also no way you’ll ever get a thank-you note, nor have your Sunday School class friends at church whisper how much they richly appreciated your kind thoughtfulness, secretly aquiver that you will not tell them what it was that earned such praise in the nether world you did.

Many thousands will see -- and know -- exactly what you and others like you have done in Chattanooga in just three short weeks after Thanksgiving. Many of us who are still alive will echo your ripple because in years past there hasn’t been the money or human resources.

This year a star-studded Chattanooga committee (part of a nationwide effort that is representing our National cemeteries all across America) is readily aware we are among the very top tier of the patriotic cities in the United States and is unanimous in the colossal efforts of dedicated servants like Mickey McCamish, Maj. Marty Nix, and the Civil Air Patrol. This is big medicine, I am telling you.

The wreaths at the cemetery are both a memorial to our dead and an honor to our living veterans. The wreaths represent a salute to the entirety of our nation’s military and, please, make of this no more or no less than the true grit of our honored families. Do not be dissuaded that these are anything more than holiday tinsel because we’ve seen some radicals try to put a twist what’s good for their own agenda. Can you imagine Trump being ridiculed by the NY Times for a pie-plate holly? They probably wouldn’t fall back on the berries either, claiming it was a red Russian trick.

Christmas wreathes, symbolic of joy and happy times, are in no way a religious symbol. We know there are some valiant veterans buried in the National Cemetery who are not of the Christian faith but that is as common as any Army platoon where one’s political, racial or minority status means nothing in a fox hole as much as your buddies’ trigger finger.

Admittedly, I am a little amazed that the operation for 43,000 wreathes costs $430,000 (somebody needs to check with the Hobby Lobby) but we are learning: Let’s let the 43,000 kids in our public schools design and make some originals and, as January arrives, give each family of the deceased a unique original and a chance to visit with our “artists.” On December 15, a Saturday, there will be a brief ceremony at the National Cemetery at 11 a.m. and the hope is that hundreds of patriotic  volunteers will be on hand to lay the wreaths.

Here is the best way for you, your school, your church, your sorority, your immediate family, your floor nurses, your elementary school children to join their teachers, the local NAACP, and a TVA office compliment can take place. Barring such a distinction, never forget that just one person -- you – can make a huge difference in our world by just yourself. There is just one optional request. Between Dec. 6 and Christmas Day, circle our national park and for every wreath there is a man or women who was willing to share the dream of our greatest nation with particularly you.

* * *


* -- The wreathes look about the size of a pie plate and they can be purchased on a website, For information beyond what is provided on the website, or to discuss corporate sponsorship, please contact: Maj. Marty Nix, CAP, Chattanooga Location Leader, at (423) 667-0399

* - For information about the website, or public affairs and interviews, please contact:  Maj. Larry Stewart, CAP, Public Information Officer, at (423) 596-3196 or email at 

* -- For information about how your organization can raise funds for wreaths (and for your volunteer organization), or if you need a presentation to your organization, please contact:  2d Lt. Steven Rastatter, CAP, Liaison to Volunteer Organizations and Fund-Raising Groups, at

* -- For information about veterans’ affairs and sponsorships, please contact:  Capt. Mickey McCamish, U. S. Navy (retired), Wreaths Across Chattanooga committee member, at (423) 394-0024

* -- For information about the placement of wreaths or operations, please contact:  2d Lt. Byron Poe, Operations Officer, at (423) 240-5963

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