Perpetuating the Noble Principles for which They Fought and Died
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American Gold Star Mothers, Inc

Wreaths Across America Archives


WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA 2009

Narrative of Trip

How do you describe a trip of a lifetime? It's like that postcard you send with only, "Wish you were here." And those are my thoughts to describe the trek from Maine to Arlington with Wreaths Across America.

We (Barb and Jack Benard, Mary Byers, Peggy Morrison and yours truly Ruth Stonesifer) started our journey in 8 inches of snow tying on bows with the other volunteers at the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine. It wasn't long before our hands were covered in pitch from the pine but it did not matter, since we could then shake hands with all the veterans also helping and have a (sticky) but lasting embrace.

There were three trailers heading to Arlington (up one from last year) and over 30 trailers going all over the country to deliver the tribute to our veterans. The mission is Honor, Remember and Teach and that was our mission as we climbed aboard the motor home dubbed "Gold Star One" driven by Ehrin and Jay and their white fluffy dog named JOJO; three cheerful volunteers to escort the moms to Arlington.

I, of course, wanted to ride in an eighteen wheeler and luckily for me Bob Parsons ("Wreath Two") remembered taking me into Arlington last year and agreed to have me along for the ride. When they closed the back doors of "Wreath One" there was a huge decal with the AGSM logo. What a thrill that was to follow "Wreath One" to all the schools and town squares filled with children waving flags and cheering us on to Arlington. I hope the pictures speak volumes because all of us got misty eyed at the sight of kids and flags.

I will never forget the image I had looking in the side mirrors at one very hilly spot in Maine and seeing all the tractor trailers coming down the hill after us. What a thrill to know they were all filled with wreaths to honor those who have served our country.

We got snowed in one morning in Hartford CT but it was a great time to converse and make new friends with the Patriot Guard volunteers whose colorful stories of past treks made us laugh and cry at the same time.

There were some other interesting times this year when the brakes failed on the motor home on Interstate 95 and we rolled into a dealership to have them repaired. Another thrill was getting lost from our escort and having to rely on my new phone with the Navigation to get us to the Pentagon ceremony, arriving even before the escort and the Worcesters. I think they might take me on as a Native America Scout next year, maybe a pinto pony and me in white leather chaps out in front of the convoy would be a nice touch. On second thought the rig will do just fine.

After an exhausting day (Dec 12th) walking every square inch of Arlington, (it just seemed like that the next morning with aching legs and feet) AGSM hosted a dinner for all the volunteers who could make it up to Headquarters. After cookies and cake, Cory, Morrill and Karen Worcester's son, asked everyone, "what are we grateful for?" The answers were as interesting as they were varied. When it came time for me, I had to say my thanks were for the sense of family we all felt. I was truly grateful for the friendships that developed over the days and miles and belonging to a cause that is bigger than all of us; honoring and remembering the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. That was the real gift.

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