Wreaths Across America
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 nation’s 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, Worcester Wreath 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 country’s Veterans. 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 nation’s heroes.
In 2010, Wreaths Across America and our national network of volunteers laid over 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the United States and beyond. We were able to include ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites if the September 11 tragedies. We accomplished this with help from 902 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands.
On Saturday, December 15, 2012, Grand Knight Lonnie Pizza and Brother Knight Gregory Brom of Council 15085 in Waynesville, NC attended the wreath laying ceremony at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain NC. A local chapter of the Western Carolina Patriot Guard Riders, under the leadership of location coordinator John “Landmine” Collins marked the 21st year that Worcester Wreaths donated thousands of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. This was the 7th year of the ceremony in Black Mountain, and there are over 750 cemeteries like ours, that received 7 ceremonial wreaths donated by Worcester Wreaths.
Patriot Guard Riders processed to the cemetery as a group, then through a flag line to welcome everyone, including some of our Blue Star and Gold Star Families. We ‘REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those who serve and their families, and TEACH our children the value of freedom.”
WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms, and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. We offer learning tools, interactive media projects, and opportunities for youth groups to participate in our events. We also work to create opportunities to connect “the Greatest Generation” with the “Generation of Hope”. The inspirational stories of our World War II Veterans must be passed on to the leaders of the future. To learn more visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org
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