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Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America

by Steve on December 17, 2006

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Commander, Navy Recruiting Command’s Recruiters of the Year lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Wreaths Across America (WAA). WAA began in Arlington in 1992 with the message to remember and honor those who answered America’s call.

The first time Morrill Worcester visited Arlington he was twelve years old, he won a trip to Washington by selling subscriptions on his paper route. What he remembered most about that trip was the visual and emotional impact of the national cemetery. The year was 1962. Thirty years later his company, the Worcester Wreath Company, a supplier to L.L. Bean, over-produced by a count of several thousand wreaths. He remembered Arlington. Instead of just dumping the excess production, he called Washington for permission to lay his surplus wreaths in a section of Arlington and a tradition was born. For years he and his family, along with employees and friends, made the trip to Arlington during his busiest season and laid wreaths at the graves in a different section each year along with the memorials to John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, the USS Maine, and the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Last year something special happened. When Worcester and his crew of volunteers were finished it began to snow. Master Sgt. James Varhegyi, an Air Force photographer assigned to cover the event, went back to the section and shot an image of the completed work blanketed by a dusting of snow. Someone pulled Varhegyi’s image from an Air Force web site, added a poem and pushed it out into cyberspace. As good things usually do, it took on momentum and spread. The Worcester Wreath Company was inundated with calls, emails, and letters thanking and praising them. The public response was overwhelming, by summer the company was receiving hundreds of emails each day. Continued requests and interest in expanding the effort resulted in “Wreaths Across America“. Now, in addition to the annual truckload to Arlington, Worcester sends six wreaths to over 200 veteran’s cemeteries across the country. UPS ships them at no charge and the Civil Air Patrol distributes them.

Morrill Worcester never served in the armed forces. This is just his way of remembering all those who sacrificed their future for the common good. His simple gesture has touched the heart and soul of the country. Don’t send him donations (he returns them all) as many have tried to do since his good deed gained national recognition but by all means purchase some of his wreaths for your own seasonal decorations.

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Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell..

Author unknown

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