Planning is underway for the 2016 Wreaths Across America Escort to Arlington National Cemetery in December, and there are a few spaces left on our VIP bus for Gold Star/Blue Star families, veterans, and guests. It's not an event, rather an experience that's life-changing.
The journey begins in Washington County, Maine where the fresh balsam fir remembrance wreaths are produced and packed for trucking throughout the nation for National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 17th.
The convoy involves law enforcement personnel, Patriot Guard Riders, other escort vehicles, the Grand Marshal (2016 Grand Marshal to be announced soon!), Chevy-wrapped Wreaths Across America vehicles, and twelve tractor trailers filled with wreaths.
If you would like to be considered as a participating guest, you'll need to plan for the adventure to last a week. To endure the long days and evenings that include multiple visits at schools and other community locations planned along the escort route, participants must be ambulatory, not require special assistance, or have other physical limitations. Convoy participants are responsible for paying for their hotel accommodations each evening. The convoy travels from Maine to Virginia. Meals are provided by extraordinary volunteers and service club members who participate at each of our educational stops and ceremonies. Where food is not provided, participants must pay for their own meals.
Inspirational, heart-warming, patriotic, reaffirming, and educational are all words used to describe the events during the trip as Wreaths Across America carries out its mission to remember, honor, and teach along the way.
If you would like to take part in this empowering journey to remember, honor, and teach, please email:firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Seats on the VIP bus are limited.
"It was really hard because I couldn't hug her. As soon as she put her hand on the wreath, I started to cry, and I could tell she was starting to tear up."
In her keynote address, Karen Worcester thanked the UMA for the honor and shared a personal story of why Wreaths Across America does what it does. In a heartfelt and often tearful delivery, Karen told the story of Edith Knowles, a Gold Star Sister who lost her brother, Bud, during World War II.
I knew I had the contacts in the trucking industry," Barry explains of his initial involvement with the organization. "I just had to get people to believe in Wreaths Across America they way I did."
"She truly gets the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach and how important it is to our families but most importantly the families of those who have served."
"When you see thousands of volunteers flood through the gates to lay wreaths, it does help restore your faith in America and that our country has not lost its core value of appreciating the sacrifice of our soldiers and veterans and saluting them while teaching the next generation how important it is to remember."
Taya says the best way to show appreciation and respect for military families is through simple gestures like the one Wreaths Across America's founder Morrill Worcester made back in 1992 when he laid the first hand-made balsam fir remembrance wreath on the headstone of a fallen hero in Arlington National Cemetery.
Her parents, Vernon and Regina Garner represented the true American dream. They were a young entrepreneurial couple creating a business to share with future generations of their family. Garner Trucking started in 1960 with one truck and has grown to over one hundred trucks and four hundred trailers today.
"With the most gentle little kisses using the very tip of his tongue like a little butterfly he licked the tears off my cheek as if he was saying, 'Mom, I've got you, don't worry I'm right here with you."
“We didn’t understand the scope of the effort though until we attended the event. The energy and enthusiasm for WAA was mind-blowing and we left with great contacts and started to formulate a proposal right away for the executive team to consider getting involved with the mission.”
"I was very determined to survive the war. I never thought I would not survive. If I had allowed myself to think that I would have been done. My big goal was to revenge my past but not with bitterness and vengeance."