COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine, Nov. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery from Maine has become known as the country's longest veterans parade, and this year, the weeklong journey kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 9. Grand Marshals – Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipient, Colonel Roger Donlon, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired) and his wife, Norma, a Vietnam-era Gold Star wife – will lead the caravan as it travels down the East Coast stopping at schools, memorials and other locations along the way to spread the mission to REMEMBER, HONOR and TEACH.
The escort is scheduled to make stops in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 16 – National Wreaths Across America Day. To view the schedule, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/escort.
"I had the pleasure of visiting Maine this past summer and walking on the tip land where the balsam used to make wreaths for fellow veterans is grown, and tagged individual trees for some of my friends who never made it home. The experience touched me deeply and I am proud to have the opportunity to share my story and the mission of Wreaths Across America with those who will listen," said Roger Donlon, MOH recipient and escort co-grand marshal. "As people who have dedicated our lives to the service of our military and their families, to have the opportunity to play a small role in this important mission is both an honor and privilege," added Norma Donlon, escort co-grand marshal.
Chevrolet, who has generously sponsored the escort vehicles transporting participating Gold Star families and veterans for the last three years, will again provide 12 wrapped vehicles in addition to sponsoring 4,000 wreaths for Arlington.
"It is difficult to express what this organization means to our employees and customers. I have never experienced anything as moving as participating in the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery," said Dan Adamcheck, regional director, sales, service and marketing for Chevrolet. "We are honored to be a part of this great program and to help spread awareness for the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach."
Escort participants include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and the Wreaths Across America extended family. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder will flank the escort along with law enforcement from Maine to ensure safe transport for all participants throughout the week.
Eleven tractor-trailers representing Walmart Transportation, Schneider National, Oakhurst Dairy, Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc., Delhaize Transportation LLC (DBA Hannaford Supermarkets), American Trucking Associations – Share the Road, Pottle's Transportation, Cargo Transporters, Inc., Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (DBA Poland Spring Bottling Company) and North State Transportation driven by Gold Star father Scott Harris, will haul a portion of the 245,700 sponsored wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery for placement on Dec. 16.*
What began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992 has become a national mission more than 25 years later to Remember, Honor, Teach.
National Wreaths Across America Day is a free event and open to all people.
*Wreath sponsorships for all participating cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery are needed and will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 27. Please consider giving the gift of remembrance this holiday season by sponsoring a wreath for $15 by visiting www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
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 at hundreds of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.
SOURCE Wreaths Across America