"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France
When you combine a love of nation, and the mission to remember honor and teach with the love of an animal it creates a powerful force for good.
The soul of Wreaths Across America has been awakened with the arrival of Peter to his new forever home at Dun Dreamin Farm in Columbia Falls, Maine not far from the Wreaths Across America Headquarters.
Peter is a decorated veteran recently retired after fourteen years of service from the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) and was adopted by Karen and Morrill Worcester, executive director and founder (respectively) of Wreaths Across America. The adoption ceremony was at Fort Belvoir, Virginia on March 13, 2017.
"We are thrilled to be chosen as Peter's new home following his years of important service," Karen said. "As the newest member of our family, Peter will be an ambassador for Wreaths Across America."
The Old Guard is the official escort to the President of the United States and the nation’s premier memorial affairs and ceremonial unit.
“Our Caisson horses provide the final ride for our nation’s fallen heroes,” said Major Russell Fox, the Old Guard Public Affairs Officer. “We may be the only or last image a family member remembers as their loved one is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. It’s our duty to ensure the ceremony is conducted to the highest of standards. The full honor funeral the Caisson Platoon provides ensures that image.”
After years of Caisson service, a horse may be deemed unable to fulfill their military duties. Horses are then placed in the adoption process consisting of an application, a site visit and several rounds of voting. The Worcester’s have applied for adoption several times over the last few years.
As part of his distinguished service career, Peter performed six thousand funerals, received the Army Achievement Award from the Secretary of the Army, and performed as a flag bearer in President Barack Obama's second Inaugural ceremony. He finished his career with the Old Guard as the Second Horse for the White Team.
Peter stands 16.3 hands tall and was selected as a Caisson Platoon horse because of his color, size, focus, and behavior. Those who met Peter at his Open House on St. Patrick's Day were amazed at his size and docile temperament with one woman referring to him as a "gentle giant."
According to the Worcester family, Peter will become an important part of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach.
"We have a dedicated group of compassionate people who come together to help military veterans," Rebecca explains. "If someone reaches out to us and says 'hey we need help getting a veteran's roof shingled' then we try to get it done."
“Every year we have so many professional drivers, bikers, police officers and other first responders, ask us how they can get involved, even if they can’t transport wreaths,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America.
"There are a lot of similarities between the military and the trucking industry," Rob explains. "I think that's why you see a lot of veterans successful as truck drivers."
Johnny Vet: Freedom Isn’t Free is a dynamic and inspirational musical journey of the men and women who have fought the nation’s wars and how those same men and women, as veterans, have helped to shape the nation and its destiny.
"History can be studied in many ways, and it's important to do so for a contextual understanding of the journey taken by an individual, organization, or nation."
"It's heart-wrenching to see that and participate in that, Rick shares. "To see all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles waiting there to have a wreath to place on their family member's headstone, there are just no words for it, none."
"We're just Moms who serve through the organization to make sure that our children's names and lives are not forgotten."
From our standpoint, it's a relatively small thing to do, and we're proud to be a part of the mission."
"With NFI managing the logistics, the sky is the limit. They will help make the entire operation more efficient,” said Debbie Sparks, Director Corporate Development and Community Relations, Wreaths Across America.
Luann started her volunteer efforts with Wreaths Across America in 2015 after hearing about it from a friend who was participating with her DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) group. She's working to sponsor wreaths to cover all of the known heroes laid to rest at Oaklawn.
"I always choose our drivers who are military veterans for these loads and they are proud and honored to have the opportunity to recognize our fallen heroes and their families."
In referencing the Wreaths Across America Stem to Stone Remembrance Tree program Roger spoke to the value and necessity of "planting seeds of patriotism" in younger generations.
Monica explains Maverick has a tremendous amount of pride hauling America's respect and not only do they assign the wreath loads to their drivers who are veterans but those drivers are some of the industry's best.
The September edition of the Military Musicians Showcase goes out to jazz lovers!
As Aaron Van Beek, Location Coordinator for Sioux Center, Iowa placed Chris Kyle's tag in Maine the announcement was made that the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and Wreaths Across America have agreed to collaborate with the support of their respective programs.
Helen told us about her brother, Ralph H. Johnson, who received the Medal of Honor posthumously following his heroic actions in Vietnam in 1968.
Yes. At Wreaths Across America, we've heard about the "Walmart Heart," and we're honored to be welcoming a group next month that has decided to combine their charity effort with their patriotism and respect.
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.