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.
Placing fresh, hand-made balsam remembrance wreaths on the headstones of veterans across the country in December requires tremendous logistics and unyielding support from the trucking industry.
Wreaths Across America shows its gratitude and appreciation for all those involved in transporting America's respect with "Trucking Tributes." These stories will introduce you to the men and women of the industry who make our mission possible like Steven Meyer and Arpin Van Lines.
"Wreaths Across America has been a part of my life that has assisted in my healing from the loss of my oldest son," Diana explains. "It allows me to "give back" in his memory and service." Read more about Diana's volunteer service in Kansas and how you can get involved too in our mission to remember, honor, and teach.
"All Michael ever wanted to do is join the military and serve the country," explains Gold Star Dad and professional driver Mike Stansbery. Michael Jr. was killed in Iraq in 2010. In this video, you can see how the Stansbery's have been able to honor Michael from Stem to Stone.
"When the ship was opened up by a German U-Boat torpedo it began to take on water and sink. Witnesses report that through the pandemonium four Army Chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness." Read about WAA's tree dedication to the Four Chaplains here.
Despite freezing rain, an estimated 44,000 volunteers placed 245,000 remembrance wreaths, and many hands on January 28th will make quick work of picking up those wreaths. Details Here.
Wreaths Across America launched its inaugural Living History Project in December of 2016 with the support of stalwart volunteers who believe similarly as Col. Frank Blazich Jr. that "if you don't know where you've been then it's difficult to know where you're going." See video here.
The mission to honor those who serve and their families is important to Wayne on a deeply personal level. As a Vietnam Veteran, Wayne recalls there was no "welcome home" and the disrespectful treatment returning soldiers received was disheartening. Read more about WAA's Chairman of the Board and his commitment to WAA here.
Traveling from eastern Maine to Virginia, the convoy of escort vehicles and tractor-trailer rigs filled with balsam fir remembrance wreaths often stretched for miles as it rolled down the highway stopping at schools, American Legion posts, and other community centers. Citizens lined the streets and overpasses waving flags, holding signs, and shouting "thank you" or rhythmically chanting "USA, USA, USA!" See excerpts from the West Point Sunrise Ceremony here.
Wreaths Across America thanks you for an extraordinary year and challenges you to extend our mission to remember, honor, and teach into 2017. See this "special request" video.
American Military University, with our strong military heritage, has proudly supported Wreaths Across America since 2011 and has again donated 1,000 wreaths for Arlington National Cemetery this year.