Wreaths Across America was founded to continue and expand the wreath-laying ceremony that takes place at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. It was started by ME businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992 with a mission of remembering and honoring veterans and teaching others about the sacrifices they have given.
They and their comrades in arms were honored Saturday during the annual Wreaths Across America event. Families are welcome to take the wreaths home, he noted, or leave them to be removed by volunteers after the New Year. "The Wreaths Across America program, and our ceremony here, are a fitting way to honor and give thanks to our veterans, both living and departed". "Today, we have 1,410 participating cemeteries in all 50 states and beyond".
Worcester never forgot the trip and, when his company experienced a wreath surplus in 1992, he contacted U.S. Sen.
Every year, truck drivers and fleet owners volunteer their time and vehicles to deliver the wreaths from Worcester's facility in ME to Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries on the second or third Saturday of December. ROTC placed the 45 wreaths at veterans' gravestones at Willow Valley, then laid another 10 in Glenwood Memorial Park.More news: ME home sales on track for record high year
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"My father, Louis Reyna, served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was laid to rest at Florida National last December", said Louis Reyna, associate director of Saint Leo University, MacDill. From there, it became a national event held at over one thousand different locations.
"They are more than just a statistic", she said.
"This is a time that families get together", he said, "and this is a time that we need to remember those who can't be here". As one of the largest corporate supporters of WAA, Walmart donated $215,000 to help purchase more than 23,000 wreaths for placement at national cemeteries and memorial sites around the USA, including Great Lakes National Cemetery. "It is really moving to see young people participating from organizations like the American Heritage Girls and other youth development organizations", he said.