HARRINGTON, Maine — A convoy of vehicles carrying 17,000 Maine-made balsam fir wreaths will leave Harrington early Sunday en route to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery, the 18th consecutive year that Worcester Wreath Co. has supplied the greenery to place on veterans’ graves and spearheaded the convoy that distributes them.
The Patriot Guard Riders will continue their tradition of escorting tractor-trailers filled with the donated wreaths.
In all, more than 100,000 wreaths will be placed in 350 locations, including Arlington National Cemetery and at veterans cemeteries in America and abroad.
Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins initiated a resolution adopted by Congress to have Sunday, Dec. 12, designated as Wreaths Across America Day. On that day, more than 100,000 wreaths will be placed at the base of the gravestones of veterans at more than 350 cemeteries across the country.
“Wreaths Across America, true to the vision that Morrill and Karen Worcester conceived 18 years ago, has become a nationwide gesture of gratitude to our veterans and their loved ones,” Snowe said Thursday. “Through this resolution today, we humbly extend our appreciation to each of these patriots, whose actions truly speak to our better angels, and join them in paying homage to our nation’s heroes.”
Collins said, “In this season of giving, the thoughts of all Americans turn to those who have given us the most precious gift of all, our freedom.”
The convoy will leave Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington early Sunday, Dec. 6, stop in Bangor for a ceremony, on to Auburn for another ceremony and then make its way to Arlington with 17,000 wreaths donated by Worcester Wreath Co. The laying of the wreaths will be on Saturday, Dec. 12, when across the nation, wreaths will be placed simultaneously on more than 400 graves or memorials to remember the sacrifices of the country’s veterans.
The Wreaths Across America story began more than 18 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Co. initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Worcester family business continues to be a major supporter of the project, donating more than 25,000 wreaths in 2008. More than 100,000 wreaths will be sponsored by individuals, businesses and groups from communities nationwide.
Wreaths will be placed in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, at several locations in Iraq, and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.
For people who want to support the project, wreath sponsorships are available online. A complete list of participating locations is available on the Web site at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.