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.
"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."
"We knew at the time it was inevitable he'd be deployed," Scott explains. "He was just a few days shy of being promoted to Sergeant when his Humvee hit an IED (improvised explosive device) in Iraq."
"I remember being in the cemetery years ago and seeing one section, it was the World War I section, near Fort Myer that was all covered in wreaths, and I was wondering who the heck put them there," Jari explains. "I know what struck me about it. It was an old section that no family members would be coming to visit."
"They have to learn and understand the history to know of all the people who have given their lives to make this country what it is today. We're honored and proud to be part of Wreaths Across America and we look forward to being part of the future."
Like any military maneuver, music performance requires individual excellence in a synchronized effort that requires discipline to achieve the desired goal.
They know they have come to serve those who served us by placing a remembrance wreath on their headstone while saying their name. Like Al, every volunteer we speak with says they come away from the day knowing they have contributed to something so much bigger than themselves.
"The statue now serves as inspiration for young people to say yes, the military is something that we should support because they come to rescue life. They don't always come to conquer the land and certainly not American soldiers. We don't go anywhere to conquer lands we go to help liberate people."
"As the saying goes we all gave some, but some gave all, and that resonates with me all the time," explains Vince. "This is our way of giving back and paying tribute to the fallen because those people are the heroes."
"We seem to be at a time in history when Americans are having a hard time agreeing on anything. We’re divided in so many ways. But at the heart of it, most of us can agree on one thing: We are Americans."
"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."