What goes up sooner or later has to come down. That was the case with the 10,000 wreathes that were laid on graves at the Leavenworth National Cemetery in December as part of the Wreaths Across America program. After being placed on graves in that cemetery shortly before Christmas last year, the wreaths were respectfully removed by volunteers on Friday and Saturday.

Nationally, there were more than 700,000 volunteers who participated this year to lay wreaths on the graves of veterans at more than 1,115 cemeteries around the world. Many groups and families showed up to help at the Leavenworth National Cemetery last weekend.

When the wreaths were laid on graves in December, the volunteer said the veteran’s name aloud and thanked them for their service. The same was true at the solemn wreath removal event.

The Basehor Junior Bobcat cheerleaders again returned to the cemetery to assist with the task. The group, who raised more than $7,000 to purchase nearly 500 wreaths in December, supports the Wreaths Across America program each year. The group has already started fundraising efforts to purchase wreaths for next December’s event.

“Having the girls help with taking down wreaths is important to help teach the girls that someone has to pick up them afterwards,” said Amanda Brown, one of the cheer coaches for the group. “It’s something that needs to be done rain or shine. The people who are buried here did the same thing for us. It’s the least we can do for them.”

Looking for a way to recycle the fresh-cut wreaths and keep them out of landfills, Wreaths Across America volunteer Rebecca Keopke put the message out to the community looking for anyone who might be able to use the wreaths for compost, animal feed or fish habitat in a local lake or pond. The Deanna Rose Farmstead will take the majority of wreaths to use on the farm.

Brown took some of the wreaths to her uncle’s nearby farm so he can feed them to his livestock.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com