Compassionate, patriotic individuals and businesses across the nation are sponsoring fresh balsam fir remembrance wreaths right now to honor our fallen veterans. These handmade circular symbols of respect and gratitude are transported by dedicated professional drivers and their companies as National Wreaths Across America Day approaches, and the annual Escort to Arlington National Cemetery gets underway.
Deadlines for sponsoring a remembrance wreath at one of our participating cemeteries for 2016 are extended until December 3, and we'll continue to accept wreath sponsorships for Arlington National Cemetery until we reach our goal of 245,000 wreaths.
Each December, the excitement grows in anticipation for the Wreaths Across America escort of remembrance wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery from Maine. It has become known as the country’s longest veterans parade, and this year, the weeklong journey kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 10. The Escort itinerary is subject to change and is found here.
Grand Marshal Candy Martin, 2016 president of the American Gold Star Mothers, will lead the caravan as it travels down the East Coast stopping at schools, memorials, and other locations along the way to spread the mission to REMEMBER, HONOR, and TEACH.
“The Escort to Arlington is one small, symbolic piece of the entire Wreaths Across America package of Remember, Honor, Teach. I am truly honored to be part of such a wonderful opportunity,” said Candy Martin, AGSM president and 2016 escort grand marshal. “As we travel down the countryside from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, I once again look forward to connecting with people from each community, hearing their stories of love and loss, and saying the names of their local heroes.”
The escort features a WEX, Inc.-sponsored VIP coach, ten tractor-trailers, countless motorcycles, six police cruisers and 15 other vehicles. One of escort’s lead sponsors, Chevrolet, has generously provided 12 wrapped vehicles to help transport escort participants, in addition to donating 4,000 wreaths to Arlington.
“The positive response that Chevrolet received from its first year’s participation with Wreaths Across America was so heartfelt. There have been few organizations that I have worked with that I have received hand-written thank you notes,” said Dan Adamcheck, regional director, sales, service, and marketing for Chevrolet. “That shows me that this organization means so much to so many people, and we are proud to support them again this year.”
Escort participants include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and the Wreaths Across America extended family. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder will flank the escort along with law enforcement from Maine to ensure safe transport for all participants throughout the week.
Ten tractor-trailers representing the following companies: Walmart Transportation, Schneider National, Oakhurst Dairy, Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc., Delhaize Transportation LLC (DBA HannafordSupermarkets), American Trucking Associations – Share the Road, Pottle’s Transportation, Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (DBA Poland Spring Bottling Company) and North State Transportation truck will be driven by Gold Star father Scott Harris will haul a portion of the 245,000 sponsored wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery for placement on Dec. 17.
What began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992 has become a national mission 25 years later to remember our fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach younger generations about the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.