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Holiday Wreaths to Adorn Arlington Gravesites

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2008 – Volunteers will gather at noon tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery to place holiday wreaths on veterans’ gravesites as part of the nationwide “Wreaths Across America” project.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Volunteers fan out over Arlington National Cemetery, Va., to place 5,000 wreaths on the graves of veterans as part of the 2006 “Wreaths Across America” project. The wreaths, donated by a Maine businessman, attracted thousands of people to pay their respects to veterans. DoD photo by Jim Garamone

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, has donated about 90,000 wreaths for the program since its president, Morrill Worcester, started the annual tradition in 1992. Working with the National Cemetery Administration and a bevy of volunteers, the company has made balsam fir wreaths with bright red bows to adorn every headstone at Arlington.

Last year, the project that began with a trailer load of wreaths and 25 volunteers went national. In addition to placing 10,000 wreaths at Arlington, volunteers placed 22,553 additional wreaths at veterans’ gravesites at 286 locations nationwide.

Worcester expects to top that number this year, placing about 100,000 wreaths on veterans’ graves at 350 different sites.

“Our goal is to expand the recognition of those who serve our country, both past, present and future, as well as their families who deserve our support,” he said. “Without the sacrifices of our veterans, there would be no opportunity to enjoy the freedoms, the life we live today.”

While honoring veterans’ service, Worcester said the program inspires others to renew their commitment to honor those who have served and serve today in the military.

“To each, and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we owe unwavering support and a profound debt of gratitude for preserving the way of life we all enjoy here in the United States of America,” he said.

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Related Sites:
Wreaths Across America
Photo Essay from 2007 “Wreaths Across America” Effort

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