ARLINGTON, Va., and COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine, Dec. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Wreaths Across America, along with nearly 30,000 volunteers, placed remembrance wreaths on the headstones of more than 143,000 veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. This is the organization's 22nd year laying wreaths at our Nation's cemetery and marks the largest number ever delivered. Across the country, 540,000 remembrance wreaths were placed in honor of our veterans at 908 locations (including Arlington).
Among those in attendance Saturday was Maine wreath-maker and founder of Wreaths Across America, Morrill Worcester, who began delivering wreaths to Arlington in 1992 as a gift. Since the organization's inception as a 501c3 in 2007, he has seen his vision grow to include more than 1,000 fundraising groups and over 900 cemeteries nationwide. "Next year marks the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery," he noted. "It is our goal to lay remembrance wreaths on each headstone here, to honor this place, and the brave men and women laid to rest here."
Also attending the event on Saturday were Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, Patrick K. Hallinan, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, Chris Burruss, president of the Truckload Carriers Association, Maine Governor Paul LePage and First Lady Ann LePage, country singer Lindsay Lawler and songwriter Chris Roberts, as well as several Gold Star families and countless veterans. "There is comfort in knowing that everyone here has been touched and inspired by those we came to honor," said Karen Worcester. "Every day of our lives, in simple everyday joys, we see proof that their sacrifice was not in vain, and we are grateful."
As part of the ceremony, Patriot Guard Riders laid a wreath at the grave of President John F. Kennedy. Later, Governor and Mrs. LePage placed a wreath at the USS Maine Memorial followed by a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A convoy of more than 30 vehicles, including tractor trailers, buses, motorcycles and cars carrying wreaths, veterans, families of fallen soldiers, and supporters, delivered the wreaths from Maine after participating in a week-long convoy. The group stopped at schools, memorials and in communities in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, to share its mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.
This year, for the first time, a stop was made at the Statue of Liberty for the placement of a special Freedom Wreath. The wreath was placed at the Statue in a ceremony to commemorate and honor the men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve all Americans' sacred right to freedom.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. The organization's mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as hundreds of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information, to donate or to sign up to volunteer, please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.
Photos and footage from today's event are available upon request.
SOURCE Wreaths Across America