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Wreaths Across America«Back to View Articles | Back to All Articles
Remember the fallen who gave up their tomorrows
11/11/2013 - David Mower

UPDATE:  Your Help is Needed this Year!

National Wreaths Across America is Saturday, December 14, 2013.  This is YOUR chance to honor and remember Americans veterans now residing on our National Military Cemeteries.  In 2010, the Wreaths Across America program volunteers laid over 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the United States and beyond including ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites of the September 11 tragedies.

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nationís capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him.

This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

In 1992, the Worcester Wreath Company found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our countryís Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nationís heroes.

Mr. Worcester doubled his yearly pledge to Arlington to 10,000 wreaths and continued his tradition of sending 2,500 to the Maine Veterans Cemetery along with providing wreaths for the veteranís graves in the local communities of the small county he grew up in. Again in 2011 Ceremonial wreaths for each branch of the military were sent to all of the participating State and National cemeteries along with many local town cemeteries and monuments. Wreaths were also provided for 24 offshore cemeteries, including Normandy Beach and a large Veteranís commemorative wreath was sent to each stateís State House for the ceremony on the Monday prior to the WAA Saturday event.

Inspired by his commitment Wreaths Across Americaô has turned its attention to answering the requests of many to emulate the Arlington project at their State veteranís cemeteries. By offering sponsorships to the public, Wreaths Across Americaô hopes that one day every veteranís resting place will be adorned

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans, and other groups and individuals who had helped with their annual Christmas wreath ceremony in Arlington, formed Wreaths Across America, a non profit 501-c3 organization, to continue and expand this effort, and support other groups around the country who wanted to do the same. 

Now you to can participate in the Wreaths Across America program either directly by going to one of the National Military Cementeries on Saturday, December 14, 2013 and help place wreaths on the headstone of our service members or indirectly by sponsoring a wreath.

My memories from participating in the Wreaths Across America program in 2011 are vailable here.   One piece of advice if you plan to participate in wreath laying at Arlington Cemetery is to go early, take the Metro (Blue Line) and get off at the Arlington Cemetery stop.   

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