Today, December 9, 2012, is the second Saturday in December which means Wreaths Across America has started its annual journey from Harrington, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Its mission is to “Remember, Honor, and Teach”.
Evergreen wreaths were originally hung in homes or on doorways by pre-Christian cultures as symbols of hope, renewed light, and victory. Catholics and Protestants of the Christian world adopted the tradition during the sixteenth century to celebrate the hope and everlasting light of Christ. Where its tradition came from doesn’t really matter as much as the sentiment a wreath has woven into its circle of boughs.
Each holiday season the state of Maine ships millions of wreaths and trees (that share a similar history with the wreath) to other states across the nation. But, it is the convoy that departs from Worcester Wreaths to carry wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and 500 other locations nationwide that fills my heart with joy and brings a tear to my eye. This is the tradition of the wreath I choose to celebrate. I’m extremely proud my son and grandson have both had the opportunity to be part of Dedham/Lucerne’s Fire Department’s escort of the wreaths from the Ellsworth’s town line to Holden’s as Wreaths Across America travels down Route 1A on the first leg of its journey. Tomorrow at noon (EST), I will be feeling pride again as I take a moment to remember all fifty USA statehouses and Washington, DC place wreaths to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Wreaths Across America was established because Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreaths, remembered. He remembered a trip he had made to Washington, DC and Arlington as a boy and he remembered what he has today is because of those who paved the way. When his company had an overabundance of wreaths in 1992, he delivered the extra wreaths to a section of Arlington that was experiencing declining numbers of visitors. In 2005, it was a photograph of one of Worcester’s evergreen wreaths with its bright red bow adorning a headstone in the snow that brought immediate fame and attention to the Wreaths Across America tradition. A tradition Morrill Worcester started in a quiet little town in Washington County, Maine, because he remembered.
The 2012 journey to Arlington includes VIP guests. Besides Maine’s First Lady, six media communications students from Hancock County Technical Center in Ellsworth are traveling with the wreaths. They will be collecting video, audio, and photography of the escorted caravan as it meets with veterans, gold star families, and delivers wreaths. You can follow their entire journey through their posts online at:
Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll let some I took today complete my story, though it is difficult even in a picture to express what miles of escorted wreaths actually looks like. It's one of those things you best enjoy if you're experiencing it. You may notice, as you browse, Blae and I both have cameos in this blog since my husband took some of the photos.
Watch for Maine to be mentioned on the national news when the caravan of wreaths rolls by Washington, DC and reaches its destination on December 15th!
For More information about Wreaths Across America:
To Learn More About Holiday Traditions:
My next blog post will feature
"Last Night!" a unique New Year's Eve tradition in Blue Hill, Maine.
© Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart All Rights Reserved
Gail J. VanWart is a regular contributor to theSCENE:
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