Wreaths across America-2017

Wreaths across America--solider.jpg“I’m an American” by Rick Charette– The theme for this year’s Wreaths Across America

I’m an American. Yes, I am.
I love my country. I love my land.
With you and me together, we each play a part.
We can make a difference with love in our hearts. 

We are many. We are one.
We are shining in the sun.
We’re united standing tall.
With liberty and justice for all.
I’m an American. Yes, I am.
I hold the world’s future here in my hands.
Gonna sing and shout it! It’s great to be free. 
Every single person has dignity

I’m an American. Yes, I am.
I promise that I will do what I can.
I’ll stand up for freedom. Live my life without fear
Going to make a better world, I know we’ll persevere.

Wreaths Across America --ArlingtonWreaths Across America is an annual event.  “Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.

From the website:

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s veterans. With the aid of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

As the wreaths are laid on each grave site, the name of the  person is said aloud.  In this way, not only is the person’s service honored, the person is also remembered.

Wreaths across America--crowds

Seeing volunteers (military and civilian) lay wreaths on the graves is a very moving experience.  People gather out in the cold (sometimes in the snow) to carefully place a lovely red ribboned, green wreath against each tombstone.  As they do this, they say the name on the headstone  out loud and thank them for their service, before moving on to the next grave. Wreaths across America--snow

 

At Arlington Cemetery, these wreaths have a military precision to them as they are laid on each grave site–so many that they cover the rolling hills.  At Ft. Rosecrans, in San Diego (the second largest cemetery) there are not as many wreaths to cover each grave and  many of the graves face the sparkling blue Pacific. If a cemetery can look festive, the green wreaths in the bright sunlight can somehow pull it off.

How can we help?  You can sponsor a wreath, volunteer to place wreaths in a national cemetery near you (there are over 1200 through out the U.S. and others on foreign sois), recommend a location near you, offer trucking or corporate support.

On National Wreaths Across America Day each December, volunteers place wreaths on individual veterans’ graves in over 1,200 locations throughout the U.S., with ceremonies at sea, and at each of the national cemeteries on foreign soil, or donate to a local fundraising group.

This year, the wreath convoy has already left Maine for Arlington.  The wreaths will be laid at Arlington, this Saturday, 16 December.  It’s not too late to volunteer, if you are in the area and would like to participate.

Have you ever participated in laying a Christmas wreath on a grave site?  Join in the conversation and share your thoughts/experiences with us.