Everyone Plays a Part and Some Write About their Wreaths Experience
Everyone plays a part to make Wreaths Across America’s mission to remember, honor and teach possible. It’s most rewarding when young people get involved as it assures the tradition will continue and our fallen heroes will be remembered for years to come.
August Landuyt is a typical young man living in Illinois. He’s nine years old, loves action movies and baseball, and he’s playing his part to remember, honor and teach. Known as “Augie” to his family and friends, his writing about Wreaths Across America is making its way to a state recognition in May as part of a young authors program.
The third grader’s book, “Wreaths Across America” is dedicated to Wreaths Across America’s founder, Morrill Worcester and it tells of his experiences participating in a wreath-laying ceremony with a military veteran he’d been “matched up” with through school.
“My veteran was Charlie Baird, and he lives right around the corner from us, so I guess that’s how they made the connection for me basically,” Augie explained. “He was supposed to go to Vietnam, believe it or not, but he had two brothers already in combat zones. He told me this funny story I can’t get out of my head. He was trained to shoot canons but actually went to Alaska for about 19 months. He was a driver there, so he didn’t shoot canons. I honestly didn’t know what to believe!”
Augie got it all figured out, and together with Charlie Baird, he placed veterans’ wreaths in Alton National Cemetery. He recalled listening to a portion of the ceremony.
“A lady by the name of Margaret Hopkins spoke some words about Wreaths Across America, and she talked about a movie she had seen with her husband about a person who was KIA, and another one dragged him off the field,” Augie shared. “I remember thinking like that was such a good thing of them to do. It was a good ceremony. While I was placing wreaths I was thinking about how many of the people died when they were younger, and they didn’t get to live their lives out, and that was pretty bad. They were serving our country though, so they died doing something good.”
According to his Mom Staci Landuyt, Augie will represent his school in May at the state level and receive an honor certificate for participating in the Young Authors program.
“They will meet with local published authors and attend some sessions to learn more about becoming better writers.”
Augie says he’s already looking forward to National Wreaths Across America day this year, which is Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.
“It’s a really fun experience. I will be there, and I will be laying wreaths with Charlie Baird in Row 19. I hope people come to the ceremony and help lay wreaths, but I just want to warn them to be prepared for that 21-gun salute at the end. That really jumped me!”
The connection and friendship Augie and his family made with Charlie Baird through Wreaths Across America is a lasting one.
“His birthday was last week, and we took him a birthday cake!”
Thank you, Augie, and your family, for volunteering to support the mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach younger generations the value of freedom.
You can hear more from Augie in his “What’s Your Why?” feature on Wreaths Across America Radio.