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.
Brandon says last year spending time at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day with fellow employees of Cowan Systems, Inc. was an educational and humbling experience.
"It's been a dream of mine to go back to Arlington with my Mom to be a part of National Wreaths Across America Day to place remembrance wreaths on my grandparents' graves."
According to Gretchen CFI went above and beyond two years ago when they helped make her dream come true.
"When we did that project we had one hundred and thirty-five of our employees at that time who had served in the military and that's a big percentage of employees for one company. We think that it's important to recognize their service."
Christa Parker's love for her son, country, and volunteerism with Wreaths Across America knows no boundaries, quite literally. Her volunteer efforts frequently have her crossing states lines and her stamina and organizational efforts are an inspiration to all.
When asked if he could describe the power of the veterans' remembrance wreath he admitted it was a challenge to put into words, yet hesitated only for a moment.
One highlight from this year's performance came when Six-String Soldiers invited children of all ages to the stage to sing along with them, the Rick Charrette song, I'm An American! It echoed through the valley where replica dog tags of fallen heroes hang among the balsam fir trees' tips that will be used to make veterans remembrance wreaths.
"Rain, snow, or sunshine as you know these guys walk the walk, so we're here to dedicate this section of the tip land to the Old Guard," proclaims Wayne Hanson, Chairman of the Board for Wreaths Across America. "We certainly appreciate everything they do for us."
It was, in fact, a competitor of Abilene Motor Express who reached out to them to tell them about Wreaths Across America and Will says once the owners, Keith and Kolen Jones heard about the effort they were one hundred percent behind it right away.
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."