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CHRISTMAS HONORS ANNOUNCES DATES
Fort Smith, AR – Thursday, October 8, 2015 (Download PDF)
Christmas Honors  invites the citizens of the Fort Smith Region to help honor the servicemen and women of our community who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation at the 7th Annual Christmas Honors event.

This December, family, friends and volunteers will transform the United States National Cemetery at Fort Smith by placing one wreath on each of the 16,000+ headstones in their honor.

Dates:

  • Wreath Workshop/Assembly – Friday, December 11, 2015 at the Fort Smith Convention Center from 9am-2pm
  • Christmas Honors Wreath Event – Saturday, December 12, 2015 at the United States National Cemetery at Fort Smith at 11:00am – Please note the new time. More details on the new schedule and program to follow.
  • Wreath Pick Up and Storage – Sunday, January 3, 2015 from 12:00pm-5:00pm

Donation Information:

As the mission continues each year, we need the economic assistance, time, and talents of our dedicated supporters in order to show the appreciation and respect to veterans and their families they deserve.

  • Christmas Honors is now a separate 501c3 organization; therefore all donations are tax deductible. A receipt will be mailed to you for your records.
  • NEW Christmas Honors contact information:

Christmas Honors Attention: Sheri Neely, Treasurer

P.O. Box 180812, Fort Smith, Arkansas  72918

Email: christmashonors@gmail.com

Please send donations directly to Christmas Honors as noted above, instead of through the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce as in previous years.

  • You can now donate on-line via the website. Just click on the “Donate” button and you will be walked through the process.
  • In-Kind donations are always needed and greatly appreciated. If interested in helping, please refer to the website for a list of items. www.ChristmasHonors.org

Posted 1.19.14 – KFSM Channel 5
Christmas Honors: Wreaths Packed Up Until Next Holiday Season

Posted 12.15.13 – www.TheCityWire.com
Christmas Honors Transforms Fort Smith National Cemetery

Posted 12.14.13 – Times Record
Community Honors Veterans at Christmas Honors

Posted 12.13.13 - Times Record
Volunteers Ready Wreaths for Christmas Honors

Posted 12.5.13 - Times Record
Donations Needed For Wreaths For U.S. National Cemetery In Fort Smith

Posted 11.17.13 – KFSM Channel 5
Christmas Honors: Honoring Veteran Families

Posted 10.17.12:
CHRISTMAS HONORS EXPANDS EVENT WITH PRESENTATION-The Kennedy Family’s Secret Service Agent to Speak at Ceremony (download PDF)

October 17, 2012 Fort Smith, Arkansas – On Saturday, December 8, 2012 citizens of the Greater Fort Smith Region are invited to help honor the servicemen and women of our community, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation at the 4th Annual Christmas Honors. Family, friends and volunteers will transform the Fort Smith National Cemetery by placing one wreath on each of the 13,500 headstones in their honor.

On Friday, December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, Christmas Honors needs volunteers to help assemble and prepare the distribution of the wreaths. If you are interested in helping, contact Sheri Neely at 479-650-5781 for more information or stop by the Fort Smith Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C any time between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Christmas Honors will be collecting non-perishable food items throughout the day to benefit the Veteran’s Homeless Shelter.

Following the wreath workshop on Friday, December 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Fort Smith Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C., Christmas Honors will host a special presentation by Clint Hill, former Secret Service agent to the Kennedy family, retired, decorated Secret Service agent and New York Times bestselling author, who is kicking off his national book tour in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Admission is a $5.00/ticket with proceeds going to the Christmas Honors’ Wreath Fund and (2) nonperishable food items at the door the evening of the event benefiting the Veteran’s Homeless Shelter. Christmas Honors’ goal is to collect 13,500 non-perishable food items – in honor of every grave at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. Tickets go on sale on November 15, 2012 and are available at the Fort Smith Convention Center Box Office, 55 South 7th Street, Weekdays (M-F), 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cash only, please.

Saturday, December 8th will be the laying of the wreaths at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. Christmas Honors asks that the community reserve the 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. hour for families of service members to
lay their wreaths. The public is invited to help with the distribution of the wreaths beginning 9:30 a.m. and will continue until the final wreath is placed. A ceremony at 11:00 a.m. will include a flyover by the 188th, Color Guard presentation, gun salute and special words from Clint Hill.

Posted 10.17.12:
Christmas Honors to Host Clint Hill in Honor of 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s Assassination (download PDF)

October 17, 2012 Fort Smith, Arkansas – Former Secret Service agent to The Kennedy family, retired, decorated Secret Service agent and New York Times bestselling author, Clint Hill, will kick off his national book tour in Fort Smith, Arkansas as part of this year’s Christmas Honors’ event.

Philip Merry, founding member Christmas Honors, proposed the opportunity to the group this summer.

“In late July/early August, I received an email from Mr. Hill’s delegation complimenting on the Fort Smith U.S. National Cemetery and the community support of its Christmas Honors program, where respect and honor is paid to the veterans at Christmas time,” stated Merry. “I was reminded that JFK was a proud veteran in service to his country via the U.S. Navy P T -109 boat missions.”

The Christmas Honors committee immediately understood what the relevance and impact of Clint Hill’s presence would be to the event in December.

“Clint Hill’s presentation parallels our Christmas Honors mission in making it possible for today’s generation to become educated about the importance of honoring our nation’s heroes and accepting the responsibility of teaching those messages to future generation,” expressed Claude Legris, Event Coordinator.

  • Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin Presentation
  • Fort Smith Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C
  • Friday, December 7, 2012
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Opportunity to purchase ‘Mrs. Kennedy and Me’ and book signing available following the presentation.
  • Admission is a $5.00/ticket with proceeds going to the Christmas Honors’ Wreath Fund and (2) non-perishable food items at the door the evening of the event benefiting the Veteran’s Homeless Shelter. Christmas Honors’ goal is to collect 13,500 non-perishable food items – in honor of every grave at the Fort Smith National Cemetery.
  • Tickets go on sale on November 15, 2012 and are available at the Fort Smith Convention Center Box Office, 55 South 7th Street, Weekdays (M-F), 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cash only, please.

“Ask any American who was alive on November 22, 1963 what they remember of the day President John F Kennedy was shot and they’ll have a story to tell. Clint Hill will give us the first hand detailed account what happened the day that changed our lives forever,” shared Sheri Neely, Volunteer Coordinator for Christmas Honors.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me
In April 2012, Hill collaborated with journalist, Lisa McCubbin, to write Mrs. Kennedy and Me, a memoir of the four years he spent with Jacqueline Kennedy. Published in April 2012, the book immediately became a #1 New York Times Best Seller. Hill credits Lisa McCubbin with helping him “find a reason to live, not just exist.”

Lisa McCubbin is an award-winning journalist who has been a television news anchor and reporter for NBC, ABC, and CBS; hosted her own talk radio show; and spent more than five years in the Middle East as a freelance writer.Ms. McCubbin met Clint Hill while writing the New York Times best seller, The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (with Gerald Blaine) in 2009. She convinced Hill that the information and memories he had buried for nearly 50 years were of historic value, and should be documented. McCubbin collaborated closely with Hill in the writing of Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

The dynamic chemistry between McCubbin and Hill is evident in their unique joint presentation in which history comes to life as McCubbin draws out the poignant and painful memories from Hill, in an unforgettable hour filled with humor and drama, with the backdrop of rarely seen photos and videos. Audiences leave with an insight into the workings of the Secret Service, answers to the conspiracy theories, and inspired by the powerful message of an unlikely hero.

Clint Hill
Clint Hill will forever be remembered as the courageous Secret Service Agent who leapt onto the back of the presidential limousine in the midst of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, on November 22, 1963. His primary responsibility was the protection of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and for his actions that day, Hill received the nation’s highest civilian award for bravery. Now, looking back 50 years, Clint Hill tells his story for the first time—how a Secret Service agent who started life in a North Dakota orphanage became the most trusted man in the life of the most captivating First Lady of our time. With tender, often humorous anecdotes about life with the Kennedy family during those years of Camelot, as well as his riveting moment-by-moment account of what really happened that day in Dallas, Hill’s incredible story is one of courage, integrity, and resilience.

Hill rose through the ranks of the Secret Service to become the Assistant Director, responsible for all protective forces, having served five administrations—Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. But even though the world viewed him as a hero, he lived with overwhelming feelings of guilt and responsibility for being unable to save President Kennedy, and suffered from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He spiraled into a deep depression, and at the age of 43, no longer physically or mentally capable to serve as an agent, he retired from the job he loved. After languishing for decades in what he calls his “emotional prison,” secluded from friends and family, dependent on cigarettes and alcohol, it wasn’t until he faced the demons that continued to haunt him that he finally came to the conclusion that he had done all he could that day.

He remains in contact with the current U.S. Secret Service and is actively involved in training activities at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Prior to his service for The Kennedy family he was assigned to the secret service protection of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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