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Mena, Arkansas, News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Veterans remembered at Pinecrest Cemetery

By Ethan Nahté


The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary (DAVA), with help from The Mighty Oaks 4-H club and the Boy Scouts of America paid tribute to military veterans on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Pinecrest Cemetery. They laid wreaths on the graves of those who served our country.

The tradition officially goes back 29 years when Pres. Bill Clinton signed a joint resolution on Aug. 23, 1994, followed by issuing a proclamation on Nov. 29, which declared Dec. 7, 1994, the first National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

In 2022, retired petty officer second class David Spurgin said. “We’re putting the flags out for all veterans, but especially at this point, for Pearl Harbor Day. This is an annual event that the DAV Auxiliary does, sponsors and works to do this.”

Spurgin served in Vietnam, but the Pearl Harbor event attack had an impact.

“We do this here at Pinecrest,” Spurgin said, “There’s a group that does some of the same things at the White Oak Cemetery. Polk County has a lot of veterans over the years. Population-wise, we’re one of the higher percentages in the state as one of those that has veterans. In a way it’s good and in a way it’s sad because they’re not with us anymore.”

A few of the Polk County World War II veterans who died in 2023 include Reverend Vernual Ridgeway, Joseph Henry Knittig, and Thomas Cyril Earhart, who was about four months shy of his 101st birthday.

The wreath laying at Pinecrest Cemetery is not just for those who were at Pearl Harbor, but for any veteran of a U.S. war. The symbolism of a wreath has been used at funerals dating back to the ancient Greeks to represent a circle of eternal life.

“We do the flags that you see on the different graves for veterans on Memorial Day and we do the wreaths in honor of Pearl Harbor Day,” Spurgin said. “Basically, all of the graves are marked. The marker will be a military marker or will have something on it pertaining to the person, their service and when. They’re identified, but there may be an exception to the rule, but their typically identified with their dates and branch of service and their rank.”

As for the 4-H and Boy Scout members assisting, Cindi Hernandez with the DAV Auxiliary said, “Kids these days are required to put in hours volunteering. They must do some minimum number of hours, for their degree. It sure helps us out! This helps kids understand being a part of a community and helps them learn to give back.”

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