Big dreams can be found in the most unlikely places. It may take quite a while before a dream becomes a reality, but without the dream first, nothing will ever happen. One boy's dream can become a national tradition.
Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company, was once a hard-working paper boy for the Bangor Daily News. When he was 12, he won a trip to Washington, D.C. The sight of thousands of soldiers' graves at Arlington National Cemetery made a lasting impression on the young boy from Maine. He never forgot that the many blessings he enjoyed in his life had been paid for by the valor and ultimate sacrifice of America's veterans.
Honoring the Dream
As the end of the 1992 holiday season was approaching, there was a surplus of christmas wreaths at the xmas wreaths for graves. Morrill Worcester remembered his childhood trip to Arlington and realized that he had an opportunity to honor those departed veterans. With the assistance of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made to lay wreaths upon veterans' graves in one of the cemetery's older sections which received few visitors.
People heard about the plans to lay wreaths on the veterans' graves and stepped forward to help. Each wreath was decorated with a traditional red, hand-tied bow. A local trucker drove the wreaths to Arlington, VA. The actual wreath-laying was conducted by volunteers and included a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Wreaths Go Viral
This tradition continued quietly until 2005. An internet photo of endless rows of headstones in the snow, each honored with a green wreath topped with a red bow, went viral. Suddenly the eyes of the nation were upon this small family-owned company from Maine. Thousands of people wanted to help or to share their own stories of our nation's heroes. The goal expanded to emulate the Arlington wreath-laying project at national and state cemeteries around the country.
In 2006, with assistance from many organizations, xmas wreaths were laid simultaneously at more than 150 locations in the U.S. The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the wreaths to Arlington, beginning the annual "Veterans Honor Parade." Volunteers wanted to honor every fallen hero, everywhere. The dream had become too big for one company to fulfill.
Wreaths Across America
In 2007, the Worcester family joined with veterans and others to become the Founders of Wreaths Across America, a non-profit 501-c3 organization. The group has a simple mission: Remember. Honor. Teach.
Since the founding of the nation, almost one million Americans have paid the ultimate price. Many more gave freely of their time and blood to serve in the military and were able to return home. Morrill Webster said that he realizes that a wreath on a grave is a small gesture and wishes that more could be done. However, to honor one veteran is to honor all veterans.
Join with the Founders of Wreaths Across America with donations or assistance. To learn more, visit WorcesterWreath.com.