WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA 2010
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
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
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
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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