The Annual Wreath Escort from Maine to Virginia for National Wreaths Across America Day is about to get underway!

The excitement across the country is palpable as volunteers continue to sponsor veterans' remembrance wreaths to be sure no one is forgotten, and put finishing touches on their ceremonies that will remember our fallen veterans, honor those who serve and their families, and teach younger generations the value of freedom.

Members of our Honor Fleet are loading their trucks, and many are already on the road transporting America's respect in the form of veterans' remembrance wreaths.

Calvin Waters, a first-time honor fleet driver with Perdue fastens a wreath to his truck as he prepared last week to transport his truckload of respect to the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Calvin Waters, a first-time honor fleet driver with Perdue fastens a wreath to his truck as he prepared last week to transport his truckload of respect to the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

The annual escort has become known as the country's longest veterans parade, and this year, the weeklong journey kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 9. Grand Marshals – Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipient, Colonel Roger Donlon, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired) and his wife, Norma, a Vietnam-era Gold Star wife – will lead the caravan as it travels down the East Coast stopping at schools, memorials, and other locations along the way.

The escort is scheduled to make stops in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 16 – National Wreaths Across America Day. To view the schedule, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/escort.

Roger Donlon (left) and WAA Founder Morrill Worcester (right) on tip land for a Stem-to-Stone tree grove dedication in Maine. Summer, 2017.

Roger Donlon (left) and WAA Founder Morrill Worcester (right) on tip land for a Stem-to-Stone tree grove dedication in Maine. Summer, 2017.

"I had the pleasure of visiting Maine this past summer and walking on the tip land where the balsam used to make wreaths for fellow veterans is grown, and tagged individual trees for some of my friends who never made it home. The experience touched me deeply, and I am proud to have the opportunity to share my story and the mission of Wreaths Across America with those who will listen," said Roger Donlon, MOH recipient, and escort co-grand marshal. "As people who have dedicated our lives to the service of our military and their families, to have the opportunity to play a small role in this important mission is both an honor and privilege," added Norma Donlon, escort co-grand marshal.

Chevrolet, who has generously sponsored the escort vehicles transporting participating Gold Star families and veterans for the last three years, will again provide 12 wrapped vehicles in addition to sponsoring 4,000 wreaths for Arlington.

"It is difficult to express what this organization means to our employees and customers. I have never experienced anything as moving as participating in the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery," said Dan Adamcheck, regional director, sales, service, and marketing for Chevrolet. "We are honored to be a part of this great program and to help spread awareness for the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach." 

Escort participants include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and the Wreaths Across America extended family. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder will flank the escort along with law enforcement from Maine to ensure safe transport for all participants throughout the week.

Eleven tractor-trailers representing Walmart Transportation, Schneider National, Oakhurst Dairy, Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc., Delhaize Transportation LLC (DBA Hannaford Supermarkets), American Trucking Associations – Share the Road, Pottle's Transportation, Cargo Transporters, Inc., Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (DBA Poland Spring Bottling Company) and North State Transportation driven by Gold Star father Scott Harris, will haul a portion of the 245,700 sponsored wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery for placement on Dec. 16.

What began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992 has become a national mission more than 25 years later to Remember, Honor, Teach.

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