COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — Wreaths Across America is making plans this week for its annual convoy to Arlington National Cemetery, where it will honor the nation’s fallen veterans by placing holiday wreaths on tombstones.
The convoy of 11 tractor-trailers will leave from Narraguagus High School in Harrington on Sunday. The organization’s wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will be held Dec. 14.
The convoy, with a motorcycle escort provided by the Patriot Guard Riders and the support of various law enforcement agencies, will make numerous stops en route. On Sunday, for example, the group will make stops in Ellsworth, Belfast, Rockland and Freeport before stopping for the night in Scarborough.
Wreaths Across America has a goal of shipping 150,000 holiday wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and is still accepting sponsorships.
This is the 22nd year that wreaths have been delivered to Arlington National Cemetery, a tradition started by Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington in 1992. The company provided the wreaths as a gift until Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization, was formed in 2007 to continue the tradition.
Other cemeteries and numerous other veterans organizations also participate. People at 815 sites in all 50 states participated in 2012, when 420,000 wreaths were distributed, including 120,000 at Arlington National Cemetery.
The convoy will include veterans of all branches of the military and Maine first lady Ann LePage.
Special memorial events will be held for victims of Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Charleston Naval Shipyard, and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The threefold mission of Wreaths Across America is to remember veterans, honor them, and teach younger generations about their service.