By now, you’ve probably seen the touching e-mail showing photos of the Arlington National Cemetery adorned with beautiful wreaths for the holidays. Did you know that this program has been expanded to have global reach, and that YOU can participate?
On Saturday, December 12th, 2009, Wreaths Across America will hold its annual wreath laying ceremony at over 350+ participating locations to include state and national cemeteries, veteran’s memorials, even those on foreign soil. In Gwinnett, our Civil Air Patrol branch is campaigning to place as many wreaths as possible at the Marietta National Cemetery, as it is the closest location to us. Detailed information is available at the end of this post. I hope you’ll read on, share this with friends and participate with whichever location you choose.
One day in 1992, Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company, was wondering what to do with all those extra wreaths, as the season neared its end. As a 12-year-old paperboy, Mr. Worcester had won a trip to our nation’s capital. During that trip, he visited Arlington National Cemetery, and the feeling and emotion of that visit never left him.
When contemplating his abundance of extra wreaths, it made sense to him to give back and honor those to whom he owed so much. That first year, the Worcester Wreath Company was responsible for donating and laying 5,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. This activity would continue with little fanfare until 2005 when the story began making its way around the internet via e-mail. As the e-mail gained viewers, requests began pouring in from people wishing to expand the tradition to their localities.
Even after donating so many wreaths each year, Mr. Worcester wanted to do more. Donating enough wreaths to cover each location was a bit much even for a man with such a generous heart, so Mr. Worcester determined that he could send 7 wreaths for each branch of the military including POW/MIA. Assisted by CAP and other community groups, in 2006 wreath laying ceremonies were extended to 150 locations.
From that first wreath laying and increasing public interest which followed, Wreaths Across America (WAA) was born in 2007. WAA is a non-profit organization working diligently in conjunction with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the Patriot Riders and many other civic organizations to ensure that wreaths are placed in honor of those who’ve given us so much. These events take place the second Saturday in December each year and are open to public participation.
Another way the WAA honors the memory and service of our military is by educating our youth and communities to the importance of its message:
Remember – the fallen
Honor – those who serve
Teach – our children the value of freedom
There are many ways you can help WAA:
- Participate in a wreath laying ceremony
- Hold a fundraiser
- Volunteer truckers are needed to deliver to state & national cemeteries
- Sponsor a wreath for $15.00
- Contribute any amount you can
You can find information about any of the above suggestions by visiting the WAA website. Now, if you’re one of my Gwinnett readers and wish to sponsor a wreath, use GROUPID # GACAP112 and Cemetery ID # GAGVMM to direct your wreath to the Marietta National Cemetery. This is the closest location to us, and our Gwinnett Civil Air Patrol is working hard to honor those who’ve served us so bravely. During this holiday season, please take time to remember those who have served and continue to serve and protect our country.