It all begins with the rugged balsam fir tree grown in Downeast Maine.
The fir bough tips of those trees are harvested in the fall, and a remembrance wreath is created from ten evergreen bouquets which represent the honorable qualities our veterans embody. The wreath is adorned with a single red bow signifying the great sacrifice of our servicemen and women and their families.
The tip land in Maine's Washington County, owned by Wreaths Across America's Founder Morrill Worcester, is fast becoming a destination location for Gold Star/Blue Star families and friends as memorial sites and monuments are added to honor veterans.
One site recently dedicated is for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and trees in that section of the tip land can be selected and tagged for officers who have been killed in the line of duty or who died while serving. After extensive military careers, many veterans continue their service by joining their community police agencies.
Wreaths Across America is grateful for the support we receive annually from law enforcement agencies that make it possible for the convoy of wreaths and special guests to travel safely from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery.
To be sure they're never forgotten for their dedication and service to our nation, from Stem to Stone we Say Their Names.
More information on the remembrance tree program is available here.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I am often a walking Wreaths Across America billboard. They will normally see me sporting a WAA-branded sweatshirt or t-shirt, my blue and green WAA wristband and my ever-present WAA baseball cap. I’m proud of my connection with WAA and love to promote what we do and why we do it.
That being said, I want to relate a recent encounter I had while standing in line at our local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office the other day.
Air Force Veteran*, Wayne Merritt, currently manages the Veterans Transportation Program based out of Wreaths Across America Headquarters in Maine. Monday thru Friday, Wayne travels to area towns in the Downeast region to pick up veterans and bring them to their doctors’ appointments. This is just one of the many free programs Wreaths Across America offers to veterans and their families.
Military children worry about their parent’s safety very day. These children face many challenges, frequent moves and lengthy separation due to trainings and deployments. They take on more responsibilities and worry about their parent every day.
"I really don't see it stopping, and we want people to tell us where they see it. Take pictures and videos when you check it out and share them with us on social media."
Debbie says she and the transportation team are excited about new and more efficient systems that will be in place for 2018 and beyond.
To come up with an accurate wreath count for sponsorships, great effort was taken to assure no one was forgotten.
As we approached, Morrill and I began to realize that here laid the body of a very important veteran that we had apparently overlooked for the past 26 years in our annual wreath placement.
The many stops along the way at schools, veterans organizations, police and fire stations were also overflowing with love and good wishes.
I want my daughter to grow up understanding what true heroes are and the sacrifices that have been made for us to live in a free country.
Complete strangers just moments before, together, Denny and Ella read the name on her grandfather's headstone and talked some about him while laying his wreath.