Wreaths Across America Convoy heads for Arlington National Cemetery

Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 9:04 PM EST
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - This weekend, the Annual Wreaths Across America convoy left Columbia Falls to lay thousands of wreaths at the headstones of fallen soldiers.

It will take a week for the “Escort to Arlington” to make its annual trip from Downeast Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

On Sunday, Ellsworth was the first of more than a dozen stops along the way, and set the tone for the rest of the trip.

“We’re proud to be Americans. There’s so many veterans out there that need our thanks. We have so many volunteers that’s carrying out the mission to remember honor and teach at 3100 locations this year. And this is just a little part of it. And we have so many boots on the ground that carry the mission and it’s a really wonderful thing,” said Renee Worcester, Director of Development with Wreaths Across America.

“We are going to honor the legacy of our fallen children. We are going to take these reasons and lay them down at Veterans graves in Arlington. To honor and teach and remember them. This thing this is the most awesome thing that we can do as Americans I know it’s going to be overwhelming,” said JoAnn Maitland, President of American Gold Star Mothers.

The Ellsworth stop was also a chance for Wreaths Across America to hold a special pinning ceremony to “Welcome Home” local Vietnam Veterans, something the organization said was long overdue.

“We do honor you. We do remember what you’ve done. I know that during that conflict, a lot of us came home and we didn’t have the parades like they used to have and WW1 or WW2. Many of you might have been spit upon when you landed or harassed at the airport when you came home. The Vietnam War Commemoration said enough is enough, and they’re spreading this opportunity to recognize those that didn’t get that recognition as they came home,” said Wayne Hanson, Chairman of Wreaths Across America.

Wreath laying ceremonies will take place at cemeteries all across America on December 18th, run by thousands of volunteers, with many more who simply take time to wave at the convoy to say thanks.

“We’re living up to the legacy that’s been set forth, and that’s our theme this year, is to live up to their legacy. And I think we’re doing that,” said Worcester.

On Friday the U.S. Senate officially declared December 18th as Wreaths Across America Day.

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