'Flag Waver' – proud to be at Arlington as part of Wreaths Across America

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 12/7/2012

Patriotism runs deep in trucker Michael Frybarger, whose handle is “Flag Waver.”

Frybarger is an OOIDA life member from West Unity, OH, and on Saturday, Dec. 15, his tractor-trailer loaded with wreaths will be in Arlington Cemetery. Thousands of volunteers will line up to help unload the wreaths.

This year, more than 450,000 wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves at Arlington as well as at more than 800 participating sites in the U.S. and 24 sites overseas.

Frybarger served as a volunteer for Wreaths Across America in 2007 and 2008 when he lived in Maryland, but he said this is the first year he will be part of the convoy of trucks headed to Arlington. The Arlington Wreath Project was started back in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, president of Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, ME.

“When I lived in Maryland, I went down and helped lay the wreaths and met some amazing people,” Frybarger told Land Line on Friday, Dec. 7. “It’s an exhilarating, but humbling experience. In line one year I met a woman, who was in her 90s and was using a walker, but she waited in line and got her wreath and laid it down.”

He said he also met a woman in her mid-20s who was in line with her little boys to lay a wreath at Arlington.

“I told her that it was good she was bringing her boys to educate them about the cost of freedom. Then she told me that it was something her whole family was supposed to do together. But her husband didn’t make it back because he was killed,” Frybarger said. ‘It’s just hard to put into words what this means for so many people.”

He said in the two years he volunteered at Arlington, many of the trailers were unloaded in less than 30 minutes because of the vast number of volunteers who showed up to help.

Frybarger said that before his company, Craig Transportation of Perrysburg, OH, received notice that they would be part of the convoy to Arlington, he planned a wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery where his father, uncle and brother are buried in Ohio. He said he spoke with American Legion Post 669 in West Unity, OH. They will place a ceremonial wreath with flags representing all of the branches of the military at his town’s cemetery at noon on Dec. 15, the same time as the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at all of the statehouses.

“As far as I know, this is the first wreath-laying ceremony in my county,” he said. “What Wreaths Across America is doing is an amazing thing, and my hope is that this will grow to all of the little cemeteries out there.”

Editor’s note: Several OOIDA members will be part of this year’s convoy. Some are already headed to the Northeast now. Watch for more stories on landlinemag.com.

Related story:
One million: Wreaths Across America project continues to grow

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