Worcester Wreath and its involvement with the Arlington project was inspired at the early age of 12 years old when, as a Bangor Daily News paper boy, Morrill Worcester won a trip to the Nationís Capital. It was a trip he would never forget, and Arlington NationalCemetery made an indelible impression. In later life, he recognized that his success as a businessman was in large part, due to the values of this Nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In 1992, the Wreath Company found themselves with an excess of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Seeing an opportunity to make a boyhood dream a reality, efforts to do something special with those wreaths began in earnest. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which received fewer visitors with each passing year.
With plans underway, a number of other participants began their support for the project. James Prout, owner of Blue Bird Ranch, Inc generously provided and transportation all the way to Virginia. Volunteers from the local American Legion and VFW Posts gathered with members of the community to decorate each wreath with signature red, hand-tied bows. Member of the Maine State Society of Washington, DC and John Metzler, Jr, Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery worked to organize the wreath-laying, including the incorporation of a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Now over fifteen years and over 100,000 wreaths later, many volunteers participate in the project each year. After learning of the annual trek to Arlington to honor our fallen heroes, Larry Ross, an elementary school teacher from Canaan, Maine, has taken several groups of his students to help with the wreath-laying.
The Maine Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, under the guidance and leadership of Majors Wayne Merritt and Dennis Murray also participated and in the annual event over the last several years. Each student group conducts fundraising events throughout the year to make the trip.
Please note: many people have expressed a desire to donate to this cause. Worcester Wreath Company is committed to continue their Arlington Wreath Project, now expanded by the Wreaths Across America campaign. Worcester Wreath cannot and will not accept any donations. Those who are interested however, may support by sending donations to:
"I started Worcester Wreath Co. in 1971. That first year I sold 500 wreaths. Over the past 37 years with the help from my family, our business has grown to sales of over 500,000 wreaths.
I happen to think this incredible growth could only be accomplished in America because of the freedoms we all enjoy.
Of course, our freedoms did not come without a tremendous cost and sacrifice. Over the past 231 years, nearly 1,000,000 Americans, men and women, have given the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Millions more gave years of their lives in the military services and were lucky enough to come home safely.
I know our wreaths placed on the veteran's graves each year is a very small gesture. I only wish we could do more."
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