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Fairchild honors fallen veterans

A member of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard plays taps during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The playing of Taps began during the American Civil War, where dissatisfied with the standard bugle call, General Daniel Butterfield reworked the melody to the 24-note version still in use today. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

A member of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard plays taps during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The playing of Taps began during the American Civil War, where dissatisfied with the standard bugle call, General Daniel Butterfield reworked the melody to the 24-note version still in use today. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Two members of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard stand at the entrance during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Honor Guard is an ever-present part of military ceremonies, serving to uphold the traditions of honoring those that serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Two members of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard stand at the entrance during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Honor Guard is an ever-present part of military ceremonies, serving to uphold the traditions of honoring those that serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Senior Airman Sara Huston, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, salutes a grave during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. Wreathes Across America is a non-profit organization that works the Department of Defense and its branches to honor fallen veterans with ceremonial wreathes annually. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Senior Airman Sara Huston, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, salutes a grave during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. Wreathes Across America is a non-profit organization that works the Department of Defense and its branches to honor fallen veterans with ceremonial wreathes annually. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Maj. Shawn Bishop, 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain, reads the name of a gravestone during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. Fairchild service members brave harsh winter conditions each year to pay honors to fallen veterans at the cemetery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Maj. Shawn Bishop, 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain, reads the name of a gravestone during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. Fairchild service members brave harsh winter conditions each year to pay honors to fallen veterans at the cemetery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Several members of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard hold their rifles at “present arms” during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. It is customary at military funerals for Honor Guard to perform a three-rifle volley and play Taps. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Several members of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard hold their rifles at “present arms” during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. It is customary at military funerals for Honor Guard to perform a three-rifle volley and play Taps. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

A Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard firing party prepares to fire a three-rifle volley during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The tradition of the three-rifle volley can be traced back to the Roman era, where the names of slain soldiers were repeated three times to remember their sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

A Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard firing party prepares to fire a three-rifle volley during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The tradition of the three-rifle volley can be traced back to the Roman era, where the names of slain soldiers were repeated three times to remember their sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks to attendees during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Fort George Wright Cemetery grounds are maintained by Fairchild Air Force Base, one of the only bases to do so for a military cemetery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks to attendees during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Fort George Wright Cemetery grounds are maintained by Fairchild Air Force Base, one of the only bases to do so for a military cemetery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Wreathes representing each military branch are displayed during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Fort George Wright Cemetery has members from every service branch on its grounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Wreathes representing each military branch are displayed during an annual wreath laying ceremony at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017. The Fort George Wright Cemetery has members from every service branch on its grounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The grounds were wrapped in a gentle blanket of fresh snow, with the scent of pine and a somber moment of silence in the air as dozens of military and civilian attendees took part in an annual wreath laying ceremony to honor fallen service members at the Fort George Wright Cemetery, Washington, Dec. 16, 2017.

Fairchild Air Force Base, in partnership with the Wreathes Across America nonprofit organization, placed more than 100 donated wreathes upon the grave markers in the cemetery.

“Thank you, everyone, for braving the cold and snow to join me in honoring these fallen veterans,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “This is an opportunity for us to pay respect to those who died serving our nation and acknowledge the immense debt we owe them and loved ones they left behind.”

The grounds were bordered by members of the Fairchild Honor Guard, who also rendered a three-rifle volley and played taps as a part of traditional military honors provided to fallen service members.

“These grounds are maintained and protected by Fairchild,” Samuelson said. “We take pride in showing our commitment to those who served before us and to our community.”

The annual tradition got its start in 1992 at the Arlington National Cemetery and today has spread to all 50 states and beyond, practiced by all military service branches to fulfil the mission of, “Remember, Honor, Teach” about America’s fallen heroes and the stories they had.

“It’s said that a person dies twice,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Horn, 92nd Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant. “Once physically, and the second time when their name is no longer spoken. Let nobody here be forgotten as we lay wreathes today; say their names and remember them.”