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I will never, ever forget

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by Emily Reiter

On December 1st Interstate’s Ed Zozosky, a third generation Navy veteran was announced as one of two drivers selected from the company to participate in Wreaths Across America. He was given the keys to a brand new truck, adorned with the image of three wreaths representing the mission of the organization, to Remember, Honor and Teach.

He and his fiance, Ave Seamon, who also drives for Interstate, set out from Tacoma on the cross-country trip to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

The team’s first stop was to pick up a load from Michael’s in Tacoma bound for Hazelton, Pennsylvania where Zozosky had arranged to meet several combat veteran friends who knew he had been selected for the honor. When he arrived in Hazelton on December 5th a surprise was in store. His friends, along with more than 50 members of Voices 4 The Fallen, NEPA Chapters of Warriors Watch Riders and A Hero’s Welcome were there to greet him.

“I had my welcome home ceremony from Vietnam, something that never happened before,” an experience he said “I will never, ever forget.” (photo below shared from Voices 4 The Fallen, Facebook page)

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The pair continued on from Hazelton to Maine where they picked up wreaths on their way to Virginia. Across the nation, thousands of volunteers waited for drivers to arrive with wreaths on December 12th. In 2014 160 trucking companies donated their service to deliver more than 300 loads of wreaths.

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Most touching to Zozosky was the tradition of allowing volunteers with family members buried at the cemetery to be the first to place wreaths. He met a woman who placed a wreath on her grandfather’s grave. Zozosky offered a star for her her place on the headstone of the WW2 vet. “World War II vets are my heros,” he said. Zozosky’s own grandfather fought in WW2, his father in the Korean War and he himself fought in both Vietnam and the Gulf War. “Three of us covered four wars,” he said.

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Zozosky was impressed by Wreaths Across America’s motto, in particular the mission to Teach.  “It was amazing. The younger generation there was really touching… nobody is going to forget us,” he said.

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Zozosky was able to not only visit Arlington but also made a trip to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. There he brought a special honor for a fallen friend, Lester Rushin. He attached the wreath that had traveled on the front of his truck from Maine to Virginia to the wall by Lester’s name.

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Arlington National Cemetery is one of 700 participating Wreaths Across America locations in all 50 states and in 24 locations on foreign soil.

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“It was an honor and a privilege, I knew what it meant,” said Zozosky on his way headed back west. “We’re in Ohio now and people are honking at us as we go by,” he said. The pair is on their way to California then on to Hawaii to visit family over the new year. The experience is one that they say they will never forget.

Photo credit: Billy Breeman

Posted by intd on December 18, 2015 | Categories: News.