When Morrill Worcester was 12, he won a trip to Washington D.C, impacting his life in ways the young man could never have dreamed. Especially when he visited the Arlington National Cemetery, the experience followed him through his personal life and through his career. He was reminded everyday the reason why he has the freedom he does today.
Worcester Wreaths in 1992, which Morrill Worcester is President of, had a surplus of wreaths. Remembering his journey when he was a boy, he realized he had an opportunity to honor those fallen heroes. With the Senator of Maine, Olympia Snowe, Morrill was able to make arrangements for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington at the oldest section of the cemetery that was seeing fewer and fewer people every year.
As things started moving, it began to get attention from other individuals and businesses. The transportation was arranged by the owner of Blue Bird Ranch Inc, James Prout. Members of the VFW and the American Legion went out into the community to gather volunteers to help decorate the wreaths with the now iconic hand tied red bows. The ones who helped organize the laying of the wreaths, which included a tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, where members of the Maine State Society of Washington D.C.
In 2005, everything blew up when a picture of the cemetery, covered in snow, and each of the tombstones covered with a wreath went viral.
That’s when the project received national attention and the small organization began getting thousands of requests wanting to either help Arlington or do something similar at their National and State cemeteries. Some even just wanted to tell their story and to thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our Nation’s heroes. Morrill wasn’t able to send thousands of wreaths though to every state. Instead, he sent 7 wreaths to each state. One for each branch of military and for the POW/MIAs. When 2016 came around with the help of the Civil Air Patrol and other organizations, over 150 simultaneous wreath laying ceremonies happened across the Nation. The Patriot Guard Riders volunteered to be the escorts for the wreaths as they made their way to Arlington. Thus beginning the tradition of the “Veterans Honor Parade”.
With the once small project getting so much attention, it was realized by Morrill Worcester, Veterans and several other volunteers formed the Wreaths Across America. A non-profit organization that’s motivation is quite simple.
Remember. Honor. Teach
In 2014 the organizations goal of covering Arlington was finally realized when they were able to place 226,525 wreaths.
This wonderful program is of course still up and running today. In our area the South Florida National Cemetery is located at 6501 State Road 7 in Lake Worth. Public sponsorships are also offered, Wreaths are $15.00 each and if you buy 2 the 3rd is free.
Wreaths Across America hopes that one day every veteran’s resting place will be adorned with a wreath.