On Saturday, Dec. 13, thousands of fallen soldiers will be honored and remembered as volunteers lay wreaths on graves for National Wreaths Across America Day. Volunteers and donations are still needed as Wreaths Across America is falling short of its goal.
According to Deborah Sparks of Truckload Carriers Association, who is helping coordinate the event, approximately 165,000 of the 230,000 gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery are expected to receive a wreath. Sparks estimates more than 300 loads will be shipped out nationwide for WAA. In Houston alone, more than 20 trucks have volunteered for its local service.
In order to fulfill the ambitious goal of laying a wreath on every white stone in Arlington, volunteers and donations will need to step up soon. WAA spokesperson Amber Caron told Land Line that although volunteers are still in demand, donations are also needed to move the current projection of 70 percent stones with wreaths to 100 percent.
Despite falling short of their goal, donations are up 30 percent this year. Last year, 143,000 wreaths were placed on graves in Arlington. Current projections put this year’s number of wreaths well ahead.
Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Co., in Harrington, Maine, noticed in 1992 he had a surplus of wreaths towards the end of the year. Worcester made arrangements to distribute the extra wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. More specifically, the wreaths were placed in the oldest section of the cemetery, a place that received little attention over the years.
Worcester’s good deed went relatively unnoticed until 2005, when a photo of the wreaths at Arlington went viral on the internet. Since then, Wreaths Across America has turned into a nonprofit organization, distributing more than a million wreaths at around 1,000 location across the country with more than 80 volunteer trucking companies and drivers lending a helping hand.
“Anyone can volunteer. There are still opportunities of loads of wreaths that need to go out throughout the country,” Caron said. “We have a lot of owner-operators come forward this year to volunteer their time and equipment to move wreaths. There are still lanes available.”
For information on trucking routes, donating a wreath or sponsoring a load, go to truckloadofrespect.com.
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