In 1992, Worcester Wreath Company owner Morrill Worcester found himself in a pickle. As the end of the Christmas season approached, his company was overstocked with wreaths.
Working with then-Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), as well as a multitude of volunteers from truckers to members of the American Legion, Worcester had his surplus of wreaths laid at Arlington National Cemetery. There was even a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From that point forward, the wreath-laying became an annual tradition.
It wasn’t until a photograph of the wreaths went viral in 2005 that the relatively small yearly ceremony exploded into something extraordinary:
Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nation’s heroes.
… In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans, and other groups and individuals who had helped with their annual veterans wreath ceremony in Arlington, formed Wreaths Across America, a non-profit 501-(c)(3) organization, to continue and expand this effort, and support other groups around the country who wanted to do the same. The mission of the group is simple: Remember. Honor. Teach.
In 2014, “Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond.”
The ceremony is held on the second or third Saturday of December each year.
On Saturday, #WreathsAcrossAmerica was trending on Twitter, with everyone from celebrities to politicians paying their respects to deceased veterans:
Today is a beautiful reminder to keep close to our hearts all of America’s veterans.