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


This year wreaths were placed in sections 28, 38, 43 and 60 where most Iraq and Afghanistan fallen are buried. Wreaths were also layed at the Pentagon for those lost on September 11, 2001, the Arlington Women's Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.

Below are some first person accounts of the trip from Harrington, ME to Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Wreaths Across America convoy.

Molly Morel, President AGSM

My decision to participate in the Wreaths Across America (WAA) convoy from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery turned out to be one of my best for 2010. The trip, while physically demanding at times, and emotionally charged all of the time, was well worth the effort and energy.

There are so many parts of the trip that I treasure; getting to know the other participants was a delight and seeing the children along the way cheering us on was so great. I cannot pick one aspect that was more treasured, but there is one event that is the gift that will keep on giving. Morrill and Karen Worcester, owners of Worcester Wreath Company and founders of Wreaths Across America, have designated 10 acres on their tree farm as part of a Veterans Park under development. The future plans include flying the world's largest American flag as well as a park specifically for families of the Fallen.

Before we started the journey to deliver the wreaths, Morrill took Mary Byers, Barb Benard, Ruth Stonesifer, and me to the tree farm for a special reason. He plans for all gold star families to pick a tree on the tree farm that will be a memorial to their Fallen Hero. He had let Ruth pick out Kris' tree last year in a section of the tree farm that was harvested for wreaths. We went to another section where each of us picked a tree and placed a dog tag with our son's name on it around the branches, with a second matching dog tag for us to keep. Morrill promised to take special care of these memorial trees. He has perfected a way to tip the trees to make wreaths without damaging the tree and each can be tipped every three years. These memorial trees will stand in memory of our sons and will be used to make future wreaths. When pine cones grow on our sons' trees, we hope to plant the seeds in our home states to further perpetuate the gift. The Worcesters are very special people who I am proud to call friends.

Ruth Stonesifer, Service Officer AGSM

There were so many special moments it is hard to pick the best of the trek from Maine to Arlington. Images of school children lining the roads with flags, fire departments with lights and sirens shattering the dark night with swirling colors and so many giant American flag bridges for us to drive under; all permanently etched in my mind.

Highlights come in all shapes a sizes, and one in particular touched my heart deeply. It came from a fifteen year old Civil Air Patrol cadet who came up to the Gold Star Mothers one morning and said how impressed he was when he observed us smiling after we had been introduced at the previous day's school event. I remembered we had been called up on the stage to be recognized, we spontaneously held hands and must have made an impression on the young cadet that even facing our loss we could still smile. I was impressed that he, in his youth, could put it all together and had the courage to come over and tell us. He is and will make a great leader one day.

I loved going through the town of Freeport one evening when the streets were lined with folks holding glowing candles. We never know how long people wait out in the cold for us because we always seem to run a bit late. But that was a nice tribute to wish us well on our trek.

There were no failed brakes this year but it was a bit odd when we drove into Arlington and headed to our assigned areas for the wreaths. There were about 6 people assembled in that area at 7:30 in the morning. I thought then it's going to take awhile to place two tractor trailer loads with only 13 volunteers. But, like they say, "If you build it, they will come". And sure enough the trickle of people turned into a huge wave of people descending the hill to find us waiting for their help. Apparently the Metro had broken down and they were just a bit late.

I am always struck that they wait so patiently in line for maybe two wreaths at the most to place at a headstone of someone they never met. They do it with such reverence and tribute that is seems they really understand the mission of Wreaths Across America.

The Arlington Cemetery administration has giving WAA permission to do the all 330,000 graves next year to mark the 20th anniversary of Morrill Worcester's project. That's 60 truck loads and a whole lot of volunteers needed. Let's make it happen to fulfill one of Morrill's goals; to pay tribute to the Veterans lying in Arlington.

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