Shiloh Cemetery to host Wreaths Across America

FRUITLAND PARK — A Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony will be held at Shiloh Cemetery on Dec. 17.

Hosted by American Legion John Gella Memorial Post 219 in Fruitland Park, the public is welcome to participate by placing wreaths on the graves of veterans.

The mission of Wreaths Across America is "remember our fallen veterans, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom." More than 1,100 ceremonies will be held nationwide.

Call 352-360-0016 or go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org for information.

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The Wall That Heals in Lake County through Sunday

GROVELAND — The Wall That Heals, a traveling memorial in honor of Vietnam veterans, has made its way to Lake County.

On display at State Road 33 and Crittenden Street through 2 p.m. Sunday, the wall is open to all visitors free of charge 24 hours a day.

The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit features a half-scale replica of The Wall in Washington, D.C. The exterior sides of the trailer that carries The Wall That Heals open to become a mobile Education Center. Information cases display photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall, along with items left at The Wall in D.C. Since it was unveiled in 1996, it has visited more than 400 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions.

For information, go to www.vvmf.org/twth.

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Navy christens submarine USS Colorado

GROTON, Conn. — Annie Mabus smashed a bottle of sparkling wine from a Denver vineyard against the Navy's newest attack submarine Dec. 3, christening it the Colorado as the vessel prepares to join a fleet expected to number more than 300 ships by 2019.

The 377-foot-long submarine will become the USS Colorado when it is commissioned as the 15th in the Virginia class of attack submarines, each costing $2.7 billion. The vessels are equipped to carry out warfare against submarines and surface ships, as well as conduct surveillance and deliver Special Operations troops.

Mabus joined her father, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and others for the ceremony at Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. The bottle of Balistreri Vineyards wine had been chilled before the ceremony in a bucket of water from the Colorado River.

Secretary Mabus said the christening was his last since Democratic President Barack Obama picked him to lead the Navy in 2009.

"I could not have picked a better boat, a better place, a better person to celebrate this final christening," he said during the ceremony, which also included speeches from political leaders from Connecticut and neighboring Rhode Island, where Electric Boat does some of its shipbuilding work.

The submarines are being built in a partnership between Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. Construction of the Colorado began in March 2012. Its commanding officer — Cmdr. Ken Franklin, a native of Plant City, Florida — has been serving on submarines since 1991.

The Colorado is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the state. The first was a three-masted frigate launched at Norfolk Navy Yard in 1856. The most recent was a 1923-commissioned battleship that won seven battle stars during World War II.