Wreaths Across America Convoy Begins Journey To Arlington

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The Wreaths Across America Convoy hit the road this weekend.

And they made a stop in Bangor. Their first one since the program started.

Police cars, trucks, and 18-wheelers rolled into Bangor Sunday morning.

Hundreds of patriotic Americans welcoming the convoy of folks making their way to Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America.

"I wanted to take a picture of this crowd here today because it's absolutely amazing and heartwarming that this many people would brave the cold and come out and greet us and wish us well on our way," explained Gold Star Mother, Joyce Richmond.

It's a mission that's been going on since 1992. Participants include, Veterans, Gold Star Families, and the extended family of Wreaths Across America.

All escorting over thousands of handmade wreaths to Arlington in what's become known as the country's longest veterans parade.

"It's good to be patriotic," said Richmond. "It's good to remember our fallen soldiers, and sailors, and Air Force. It's a good thing to remember them and it's a good thing to do what they can to keep patriotism going strong."

The convoy has plenty of stops to make on their way, but they took time out on Sunday to carry on the mission that was started over twenty years ago.

And part of that is remembering and honoring those they have lost.

"I lost my daughter. She was in the Air Force for 26 years and passed away and I had heard about Wreaths Across America for a couple of years and last year I went for the first time. It was the most emotional week of my life," explained Richmond.

This organization has touched the hearts of folks all over the country. And, has inspired many to give back.

"Bangor, Maine is a special place. We have the Troop Greeters that come in at the airport and take care of the veterans that are coming back and the fact that Wreaths Across America gave us the opportunity to stop in Bangor and the tremendous turnout is just unbelievable," explained Jack Quirk of Quirk Auto Group.

After a brief ceremony, the trucks hit the road once again.

But, not without carrying out the last part of the mission, and that is to teach.

"That's what it's all about. To make sure that the younger generations don't forget and understand that freedom is not free," explained Quirk.

This year more than 200,000 wreaths will be placed at Arlington alone.

A total of 1.2 million wreaths will be placed on markers across the country in over 1,200 locations.