In service to God and their country, the Four Chaplains selflessly gave their lives together during World War II in a heroic act of courage and fellowship that would transcend time and serve as a guiding example of cooperation for the greater good, without regard to cultural or religious differences.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) celebrates its mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach younger generations the value of freedom with the Four Chaplains Remembrance Service and tree dedication on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the Balsam Valley Chapel, located in Jonesboro, Maine.
You’re welcome to join WAA as the group pays homage to the valor and sacrifice of these military men and the crew of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester in the newly constructed, non-denominational Balsam Valley Chapel.
Directly following the service provided by local participating Chaplains a tree will be dedicated to the Four Chaplains as part of WAA’s, Stem to Stone program. Replica dog tags in honor of Chaplains Lt. George Fox, Lt. Alexander John Goode, Lt. Clark Poling, and Lt. John Washington, as well as a dog tag representing the crew of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester will be placed.
Tips from the Four Chaplains tree will be among those harvested every three years to produce fresh balsam remembrance wreaths for placement in Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 1,235 participating cemeteries across the nation and overseas.
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."
Jeff says a lot of drivers who work for Buchheit think it would be exciting to participate in the Wreaths Across America effort. They're right! However, hauling a truckload of America's respect is a privileged duty reserved for certain employees.
It seems fitting that on Earth Day this year Wreaths Across America will pay tribute to our nation's EOD Technicians in a Stem to Stone Tree-Tagging event on April 22 during which the names of over three hundred fallen service members will be said aloud as their replica dog tags are placed on the tip land in Maine.
Mike and Barbara are proud and patriotic Americans who understand the great personal sacrifices of our military families. They have also witnessed the powerful impact one fresh balsam fir wreath with a red bow has on the living. Mike gets choked up when he recalls one particular example.
"We're always conscientious about the carbon footprint we leave so we have to be sure the process is safe, efficient, and compliant with federal regulations," Debbie explains. "We want to make sure it's fuel efficient and a good run, that we've got the truck full, that a rested driver is ready to go, and all that plays into the coordination effort."