Nearly 200 people gathered to honor veterans at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Saturday with a wreath-laying ceremony.

“The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price," Terry Michalski, local coordinator for Wreaths Across America, said. "Lying before us, and in cemeteries across the nation, are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear."

Representatives of each branch of the military presented a wreath that honors those who died in combat.

“It started with a 12-year-old boy’s vision and a few donated wreaths," Army 1st Sgt. Robert Summerlin, this year’s guest speaker, said. "What a remarkable person Morrill Worcester must have been to foster such a great idea and carry it to where it is today."

Maine businessman Morrill Worcester first laid wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. The Worcester family, groups and other individuals joined together to create the nonprofit Wreaths Across America in 2007, according to the organization's website.

In 2017, more than 1.5 million wreaths were placed at markers at 1,422 participating locations around the world, according to a fact sheet from Wreaths Across America.

According to the Wreaths Across America website, 3,215 wreaths were sponsored at Fort Richardson National Cemetery this year.

“We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free and we shall not forget you — we shall remember,” Michalski said. "We are here today to say thank you.”

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