Community News

City leaders and members of the community gathered at Oakwood Cemetery in Concord on Saturday, December 16, 2023, to honor and remember local heroes during the annual Wreaths Across America event. Volunteers placed fresh evergreen wreaths on the graves of 1,602 veterans buried at Oakwood Cemetery. Each veteran’s name was read aloud as the wreaths were placed to serve as a living memorial to Honor, Remember, and Teach the next generation about the sacrifices and service of our veterans and active-duty military.

During the ceremony, City of Concord Mayor Bill Dusch spoke of the importance of the event to honoring our history and remembering those who helped secure the freedoms and community we enjoy today.

“As you lay the wreaths today, please remember that with all these efforts that have been made, our community will forever be able to thank and honor the 1,602 veterans that have passed before us for their service to our country,” said Dusch.

The event was made possible thanks to the tireless efforts of members of the Wreaths Across America Committee, Tom Fagart and the American Legion Post 51, the City of Concord Buildings and Grounds Department, as well as the dozens of businesses, churches, organizations, and more than 130 individual community members who sponsored wreaths.

Joining Mayor Dusch at the ceremony was City of Concord Interim Police Chief Jimmy Hughes. Hughes placed a wreath on fallen Concord Police Officer Ralph Kennerly’s grave. Kennerly served in the N.C. National Guard during the 1916-1917 Mexican Punitive Expedition and was deployed to France during World War I. Upon returning home from the war, Kennerly joined the Concord Police Department. In 1920, Kennerly made the ultimate sacrifice when he was shot and killed while attempting to take a suspect into custody.


Sharing the stories and honoring the memory of veterans like Kennerly, remembering their service, and teaching the next generation about the value of freedom is the mission of Wreaths Across America. The Wreaths Across America at Oakwood Cemetery event was one of more than 4,225 similar events that took place across the country, including at Arlington Cemetery.

“What I love most about this day, and this mission, is that it is so much more than just the placement of a wreath. The wreath is the catalyst, it brings together communities - families and strangers -- to learn about those who have served and sacrificed,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. “We have more than three million volunteers across the country and a third of them are children. This mission and the events happening today provide the opportunity to teach kids about what freedom is.” 

More information about Wreaths Across America is available online at