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:email@example.com as soon as possible. Seats on the VIP bus are limited.
Especially meaningful is the location of the Grove, which is adjacent to the soon-to-be-opened Medal of Honor Remembrance Park. From this vantage point, The Old Guard will continue to stand watch over America’s fallen heroes.
Kevin says driving Armellini's load of wreaths in the escort to VA National Cemetery in Lake Worth along with the Walmart trucks is a meaningful experience for him emotionally because of honoring veterans, but he says there's also a more physical kind of excitement as a professional driver.
Starting at the end of this month, as we countdown to Wreath Day, we would like to invite you to appear on our national webcast/webinar series to tell us about the local veterans buried in your community. We will also run your interview on WAA Radio and share on social media and in the newsletter.
"If we don't teach this younger generation that freedom is not free they're going to forget and not understand the sacrifice made by these men and women who keep us free and safe. I don't know where this country would be if not for the brave people who step up and volunteer to serve in our military. It's really scary to think of where we'd be without a powerful military."
Thinking about Christmas during July provides us with the perfect opportunity to encourage others to get involved with our mission by sharing the stories of their hometown heroes while explaining, however, to those not familiar we're not "decorating graves."
We are humbled by the hundreds of thousands of people who get involved every year on National Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery and at over twelve hundred participating cemeteries in paying tribute to our veterans. One of those passionate and dedicated individuals is Ellen O'Neil Fuller.
Not only does Wade Gunter place a remembrance wreath on the headstone of a fallen service member at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), he says their name aloud when he props it against the stone. It's what Wade does next that takes the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach to a higher level.
"We're very fortunate to find carriers, veterans, and non-veterans that want to participate in the program. We get drivers every year who call us to get involved."
From the white wigs to the tailored red coats every aspect of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is designed with history and field music in mind. The unit was formed in 1960 and according to SFC Martin was originally made up of non-musician infantrymen, harkening back to the field musicians of the Continental Army.
"When it comes to Wreaths Across America, we don't do what we do for the applause of men; we do it because of how important it is to the Gold Star families we've connected with over the years."