U.S. Military honored with "Wreaths Across the Grove"

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (WPVI) -- "I came here to honor all of the soldiers, sailors, Air Force and Marines who have served for their acts of valor, their courage to support and defend this great country," said Col. Karen Gausman.

The retired U.S. Army Colonel and nurse walked a quiet path towards one of the 52 obelisks at the Medal of Honor Grove. There, she placed a wreath in respect to the great sacrifices paid by members of the military.

"I was in Iraq and I saw many of the soldiers come into our hospital, so I understand," said Gausman.

It was not her first visit to the nation's oldest living memorial to Medal of Honor recipients. Earlier this year, she volunteered to clean many of the structures and plaques that adorn the 42-acre-wide park.

"I think we need to come out at more than just this one point in time in the year," she said.

The kind gesture was especially appreciated by her colleague, Deb Woolson, who sits as Vice Chair of the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove.

"We usually have 800 volunteers per year and this year we couldn't," said Woolson. "And we're really happy to see our volunteers back in the Grove."

This year's annual "Wreaths Across the Grove" event took place with various community members and young adults from the local Leo Club.

"We don't just honor Medal of Honor recipients here. We honor all who have served," said Woolson. "As long as we continue to care for this beautiful, sacred place, they won't be forgotten."

The non-profit also pays tribute to those currently serving and their families.

"It's hard to not have your family with you on a holiday and to know that they're in danger," said Woolson.

Col. Karen Gausman agrees.

"I was in Iraq over Christmas, so yes, I fully understand that," she said. "We also need to remember the sacrifices of their families. The spouses and the family members take on an immense burden when their significant other is deployed."

To learn more about the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, visit their website.

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