Wreaths Across America
(This posting stuck toward the top through December 15. Please scroll down for the latest postings)
[All emphases by Always On Watch]
From "' Rest easy, sleep well my brothers. Know the line has held, your job is done,'" which appeared in the December 3, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
Every year for more than a decade, at the height of the season, Morrill Worcester would pack up a truckload of his Christmas wreaths and head down from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery. Without fanfare, he and a dozen or so volunteers would lay red-bowed wreaths on a few thousand headstones of fallen Americans.This year, the project is expanding:
There was no publicity. No crowds gathered. The gesture was one man's private duty, born of a trip to Washington he won as a 12-year-old paperboy. Of all the monuments and memorials he saw, it was the visit to Arlington that stuck with him -- the majesty and mystery, the sadness and the pride, the sight of all those neat rows of government-issue white headstones....
A week from today, Worcester will leave Columbia Falls, Maine, to lead the trailer full of wreaths down the coast. This time, it won't be just the trucker, Worcester and his wife, Karen. This time, there'll be an escort of a couple hundred Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of motorcyclists who take it upon themselves to display their respect for fallen service members.
This time, Worcester and friends won't barrel down the interstate; they're taking the slow road, Route 1, so that more motorcyclists -- perhaps thousands more -- might join the caravan.
This time, the wreath-laying won't be a private affair. Instead of the 10 or 12 volunteers who had been rounded up in past years by Wayne Hanson, a retired federal law enforcement officer who lives in Springfield, at least 500 people will be ready to help lay the wreaths Dec. 14 -- and maybe many more.
There will be a busload of school kids from Skowhegan, Maine, a Civil Air Patrol unit from up that way and all manner of Washington-area volunteers, too.
Worcester has always returned the checks that people send him. The wreath-laying is his personal statement: "This is the least we can do."
Everyone connected with the wreath project takes pains to note that it has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with anyone's opinion about Iraq or terrorism....
...The interest in Worcester's project has exploded to the point that he had to find some way to extend the tribute, so he has launched Wreaths Across America, a Web site that coordinates similar rituals at more than 200 military cemeteries around the country.From the Wreaths Across America web site:
Spurred by the tremendous outpouring of letters and interest, and to celebrate the 15 years of giving, Worcester Wreath Company solicited Civil Air Patrol and its members to help expand the reaches of the Arlington Wreath Project with Wreaths Across America – the placing of memorial wreaths during a special ceremony at each of the over 230 State and National Cemeteries, and Veterans Monuments across the country.I have two family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. No matter what I'm busy doing, I will pause at noon on December 14th to remember my two uncles: one served on the front lines during World War I and came home permanently disabled, and the other served at Omaha Beach on D-Day and came home safely. How grateful I am to have the reassurance that each of their markers will have a wreath placed!
Morrill Worcester - President of Worcester Wreath Company explains his desire to develop the Wreaths Across America project:"Our goal is to expand the recognition of those who serve our country, both past, present, and future, as well as their families who deserve our support. Without the sacrifices of our veterans, there would be no opportunity to enjoy the freedoms, the life we live today."Worcester Wreath invites you to attend the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, or in your local area.
Thursday, December 14th, 2006 - More details coming soon!
The list of locations is growing each day and our goal with Civil Air Patrol is to involve every State and National cemetery, Veterans Monument and Memorial across the country.
Note: If you are not able to attend, please participate by taking a moment of silence at the noon hour on December 14th, to reflect on the sacrifices made and freely given, by those who will not be home for the holidays.
Please take 7-8 minutes of your time to watch the following video: