Wreaths honoring veterans are on their way 

| 12/6/2010

The 2010 escort of holiday wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery and all points of the 500-plus participating locations is underway. More than 50 tractor-trailers from volunteer companies, escorted by Patriot Guard Riders and others, are rolling toward Arlington.

Some are calling it the world’s longest veterans’ parade.

A dawn ceremony in Maine, Saturday, Dec. 4, officially launched the 2010 Wreaths Across America. The ceremony was held near Lubec, ME, at a place called Quoddy Head, distinguished as being the easternmost part of the U.S. It’s where the first rays of sun hit American soil.

From Maine, the convoy has a full schedule of stops – from schools, to VFW posts and even churches where the wreaths will be blessed. The primary mission is to place balsam fir wreaths, each with a red ribbon, on the graves of thousands of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC, on Dec. 11.

At the time of this posting on Monday, the procession had left the Navy Yard in Charlestown, MA. It’s scheduled to arrive at Arlington on Dec. 10.

The laying of the wreaths is planned to begin at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Dec. 11.

That program began as one man’s patriotic deed, and in the past 19 years has grown into a national movement.

In 1992, Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Co., in Harrington, ME, found himself with enough leftover holiday greenery to make 5,000 wreaths. With the help of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe from Maine, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery.

This year, Worcester Wreath Co., donated 20,000 Maine balsam fir wreaths. Along with wreaths from the Worcester Wreath Co., thousands of individuals, families and businesses now sponsor wreaths, taking the tradition beyond Arlington to more than 500 participating cemeteries and memorials, including Puerto Rico and 24 overseas locations.

As a tribute to veterans who have served and sacrificed to preserve the nation’s freedom, OOIDA is sponsoring 10 wreaths.

“We are honored to take part in remembering these men and women for what they sacrificed,” said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston. “We can never show them enough respect or enough gratitude.”

About 37 percent of OOIDA’s 153,000-plus members are veterans.

 – By Land Line staff