Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization, places thousands of wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers in a effort to show support for veterans and to honor their families.
This year, the Wreaths Across America, Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Pilot Flying J have teamed up to launch the trucking industry’s first annual rolling tribute.
On Tuesday, November 26, Wreaths Across America founder and executive director Morrill and Karen Worchester, will hand out 1,000 free wreaths to truck drivers at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Connecticut, to kick off the tribute. Drivers will receive fasteners so they can attach their wreath to the grill of their truck onsite as an immediate show of support.
“Each driver’s wreath is one half of a Trucking’s Patriot Pair, and the remembrance wreath in the set will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery by volunteers on National Wreaths Across America Day, December 14, 2013. Professional drivers who receive a free wreath from the Worcesters — and all those who would like to participate by ordering the Trucking’s Patriot Pair online at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com/ — are being asked to stop at a local cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day, remove the wreath from their grill, and place it on the headstone of a veteran,” the TCA stated.
“This idea started after seeing many of our volunteer professional drivers participating in the annual escort to Arlington remove the wreaths affixed to the grill of their rigs, and place it on a headstone once we made it to the cemetery,” said Morrill Worcester, founder, Wreaths Across America. “This very personal expression of gratitude was shared in pictures and online and became a symbol of how dedicated the trucking industry is to supporting our nation’s military.” For this reason, WAA is asking all drivers participating in the rolling tribute to photograph and share their experience online using #rollingtribute.
Trucking’s Patriot Pair is a new way for drivers to show their support. The wreaths can be ordered for $30 at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com/ and shipped directly to the driver’s specified address. With your donation, you will receive one wreath and fasteners for display on the grill of your tractor, and a second wreath will be placed on a veteran’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition, all drivers who donate will receive a WAA window decal and $5 from every purchase will go directly to TCA’s National Image Campaign.
“Many professional drivers in the trucking industry have a personal connection to the armed forces and recognize the sacrifice that fallen heroes have made in the name of freedom,” said Deborah Sparks, vice president, Truckload Carriers Association. “This tribute will be a constant, visual reminder of the dedication our drivers have to this remarkable organization and will help further TCA’s National Image Campaign mission of increasing awareness and promoting a positive image of the trucking industry.”
Worcester Wreath Company is donating these first 2,000 wreaths in the hopes that all professional drivers will want to become part of the rolling tribute.
More information about Worcester Wreath Company can be found at http://www.worcesterwreath.com/.
TCA members can find more information about and order the Trucking’s Patriot Pair athttp://www.truckloadofrespect.com/.
2013 Factsheet From Wreaths Across America
Who We Are
• Wreaths Across AmericaTM (WAA) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to
continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992.
o 1992-Firstwreaths(5,000)donatedbyMorrillWorcesterandWorcesterWreath Co.
Executive Director Karen Worcester.
- WAA’s mission — Remember, Honor, Teach — is carried out in part by coordinating
wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations
in all 50 states and beyond.
- The organization has since expanded to include more than 1,000 local fundraising groups
in all 50 states representing more than 800 cemeteries, military memorials and other
locations, along with our nation’s cemetery at Arlington.
- In 2008, and each year since, Congress has issued a proclamation officially recognizing
“Wreaths Across America Day” each December. This year, it will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2013.
- 21st year – the anniversary marked the placing of the one-millionth wreath since 1992.
- 406,000 wreaths in total were placed in 2012; 105,000 at Arlington National Cemetery (over
25 total tractor trailer loads).
- 815 participating locations all around the country, in all 50 states and at national veterans’
cemeteries on foreign soil.
- More than 80 volunteer trucking companies and drivers helped deliver the wreaths.
Those who traveled in the 2012 escort to Arlington:
- Gold Star family members including Mary Byers – Grand Marshall of the Escort and National President of the American Gold Star Mothers.
- MG Peter M. Alyward (retired) and SGT Henry Salice, US Army, representatives of the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration.
- Veterans representing all branches of the military.
- The First Lady of Maine Ann LePage, who were joined at Arlington by Governor
- Media Communications students from Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC) in Ellsworth, Maine. Under the direction of instructor Benjamin Speed, six students from the program collected video, audio and photographs along the escort.
- Morrill Worcester (Founder) and Karen Worcester (Executive Director) of Wreaths Across America.
- Escort of wreaths to Arlington conducted by and special thanks to the Patriot Guard Riders (Escort Coordinators John and Bunny O’Leary) and with the support of numerous State Police and local law enforcement offices along the way.
What We Do
- Our annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery has become known as the world’s largest veterans parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach.
- Special memorials are held for Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Charleston Naval Shipyard, and a wreath for every victim of 9-11 in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn.
- The HART Ceremony (Honoring Allies and Remembering Together) is conducted each year to honor veterans of our nation’s allies in two ceremonies on international border crossing bridges between Calais, Maine, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and; Detroit, Mich., and Windsor, Ontario.
- Wreaths Across America hosts State House ceremonies in nearly all 50 states.
- Wreaths Across America also conducts several programs to honor our veterans, including our popular “Thanks a Million” campaign, which distributes thank you cards to people all over the country to share with veterans a simple “thank you” for their service.
- We participate in veterans’ events throughout the year, and have a veteran liaison on staff to work with local veterans’ organizations, as well as public outreach through Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day programs, public service announcements, press coverage, and our website.
- WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. We offer learning tools, interactive media projects, and opportunities for schools, 4H, Scouts and other youth groups to participate in our efforts.
- A downloadable curriculum and books to help school children appreciate the roles our veterans played in preserving their freedoms. They are designed to encourage the direct involvement of local veterans.