‘Serve and Succeed;’ 2023 Wreaths Across America Lander ceremony

    (Lander, WY) – Dozens were in attendance for the 2023 Wreaths Across America ceremony held in Lander Saturday morning, who were there to honor the more than 800 men and women who served our country and call Mount Hope Cemetery their final resting place.

    Lander joined more than 4,000 participating locations across the country for the annual event, which this year had a theme of “Serve and Succeed.”

    Host Ella Riggs began the ceremony with a moment of silence to remember the fallen, prisoners of war and those missing in action, and to honor those who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces.


    This was followed by the posting of the colors by the Wind River Composite Squadron – Civil Air, and a recognition of the Don Stough Post 33 for their contributions to the ceremony, which included the Honor Guard, flags and sound system used for the event.

    Also recognized for their contributions were the following: Lander Councilman John Larsen, Pam Buline from Senator Barrasso’s office, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, FBLA, American Legion family, VFW, Civil Air Patrol, Chief Warrant Officer Derrick Fisbeck, Brigadier General Alkire, Taylor Romans and family, the truck drivers who delivered the wreaths, Michelle Motherway and the organizing committee.

    Riggs then introduced the guest speaker for the ceremony, Bronze Star and Legion of Merit recipient, Brigadier General Steven Alkire.

    Brigadier General Alkire has served our country for over 36 years, beginning with the 49th Field Artillery in Evanston, and is now the current Assistant Adjutant General and Commander of the Wyoming National Guard.


    Brigadier General Alkire began by introducing the following Veterans from the American Legion Don Stough Post 33, who presented the remembrance wreaths for each branch of the military and MIA/POW service people:

    • Dave Layman, United States Army
    • Morgan Doyle, United States Marine Corps
    • Tom Carliono, United States Navy
    • Keith Trouwborst, United States Air Force
    • John Riggs, United States Space Force
    • David Langerman, United States Coast Guard
    • Ken Persson Jr., United States Merchant Marines
    • Ken Persson Sr., MIA/POW

    “Lander has a special place in my heart,” Brigadier General Alkire later told the crowd following the presentation of the wreaths, explaining that he would often visit his grandparents in Lander when he was growing up, and that he still visits Mount Hope Cemetery to this day to pay his respects to them.

    Brigadier General Alkire then commended the 60+ people in attendance at the ceremony.


    “Some people might say our country is going through a rough time right now, maybe that we’re a little divided,” he continued. “Those people ought to come to Lander, Wyoming on December 16th, 2023 and see this group of people.”

    Brigadier General Alkire later concluded by naming the four soldiers the Wyoming Army Guard has lost in combat since 2001, whom he personally knew, and thanked the crowd and volunteers once more for honoring service people just like them.

    “When I say ‘thank you’ to the 60 or so volunteers here on a chilly Saturday morning, in the middle of the snow, and y’all can’t tell me that you’re not cold; it matters.”


    Following the retiring of the colors and a performance of “Taps” by Keegan Thacker, attendees were then tasked with placing the wreaths on the Veterans graves.

    Before everyone dispersed to lay the wreaths, County 10 was able to catch up with Taylor Romans, the LVHS grad who started the Lander ceremony with her family when she was just a teen.

    Now an early childhood development and education major at CWC, Romans shared that she is very happy to see that her hard work setting up the annual ceremony in Lander has continued and grown.

    “It was an amazing ceremony today, and it was great to see that it has kept going strong like this,” Romans commented.


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