You may have seen news footage of volunteers spreading out through Arlington National Cemetery to place wreaths in front of the headstones of the veterans buried there.
But how did this tradition begin?
It all began back in 1992, with a businessman named Morrill Worcester. His Maine company manufactures Christmas wreaths, and that year he had a surplus of 5,000 extra wreaths that he did not want to waste. As reported at navy.mil:
“I didn’t want to throw them away,” Worcester said. “They were nice and fresh so I thought about Arlington, because of the impact it had on me as a boy.”
With help from his senator and a local trucking company, as well as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, Worcester organized a wreath-laying ceremony that quietly developed into an annual event. But it wasn’t until more than a decade later that this yearly act of kindness received nationwide attention. via navy.mil
His efforts first gained national attention in 2005, and since then the event has grown into an annual tradition for many participants, with volunteers placing wreaths at more than 1,200 veterans cemeteries both in the U.S. and overseas.
For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit the organization’s site here. If you are not able to participate at a cemetery, you can also contribute by donating to sponsor a wreath at Arlington or a local cemetery.
To learn more about the Worcester Wreath Company, visit their site here.
thumbnail courtesy of navy.mil