Across the United States of America, families are happily preparing for the holidays with their loved ones. Presents will be wrapped, lights will be hung, and loved ones will gather to share in love and laughter as they celebrate the season. But some families will not gather together completely whole. Some families will not have all of their loved ones with them. Some families have loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that other families so easily take for granted. Military families who have lost a loved one due to their service face a holiday season every year that is tainted with sadness. These families fear that their serviceman or woman will be forgotten as the years go by.
That’s where Wreaths Across America comes in. Their mission is to Remember, Honor and Teach so that the lives of these fallen heroes will never be forgotten. All throughout the year, Wreaths Across America works in several ways to show veterans and their families that the lives of their loved ones matter and will always matter. This mission began when Worcester Wreath found itself with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season in 1992. Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, remembered a very impactful trip in his boyhood to Arlington National Cemetery that left him with a deep reverence for our military, and he decided right then to use the surplus of wreaths to honor our country’s veterans. With the aid of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older areas of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with every passing year. As plans began to unfold, several other groups banded together to help. James Prout, owner of local trucking company Blue Bird Ranch, Inc., provided transportation all the way to Virginia. Volunteers from the local American Legion and VFW Posts assembled with community members to decorate each wreath with traditional red, hand-tied bows. Representatives of the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. helped to organize the wreath-laying, which consisted of a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These ceremonies took place in the same vein every year until around 2005 when a picture of the headstones of Arlington adorned with wreaths when viral on the internet and the Nation took notice. From there, the organization grew and grew until it became what it is today. In 2014, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond, including ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, and the sites of the September 11th tragedies.
This beautiful mission is still going strong today, and that’s due in part to the many volunteers—including a vast number of truck drivers—who hold work that is being done to remember our country’s veterans close to their hearts. In fact, since 2008, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has helped to secure or has encouraged professional truck drivers and motor carriers to haul remembrance wreaths each December on behalf of Wreaths Across America. Those who transport the wreaths donate their fuel, equipment, and time to this honorable cause. Without truck drivers, these wreaths could never make it to their locations to honor the fallen veterans. This “Honor Fleet,” as Wreaths Across America calls them, helps deliver the most important load of all time: a token of peace to the families of these heroes that allows their loved one to live on in the hearts and minds of all who behold the wreath.
If you are a professional driver or trucking and logistics companies that would like to help haul veterans’ wreaths and join Wreaths Across America’s special mission, please contact Wreaths Across America today! December 17, 2022, at 12 PM is the date and time for this year’s wreath-laying ceremony, and all assistance available will be greatly appreciated. If you or your company are unable to attend a live wreath-laying ceremony, you can help defer transportation costs and join the Wreaths Across America’s Virtual Convoy (WAATRK). For more information about this virtual event, click here.