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Introduction To Wreaths Across America:
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. You can read the full history of the organization here - feel free to use! Here’s a video version that will save you the reading:
National Wreaths Across America Day is a free, non-political event, that honors and remembers our nation's veterans who are laid to rest in 3,100+ different locations nationwide. For the latest updates on 2021 events, click here and search for a specific location.
December 18 – National Wreaths Across America Day. Event took place at more than 3,100 participating locations across the country! Download the wrap-up press release here:
January 22, 2022 – Wreaths Out at Arlington National Cemetery, and the unofficial beginning of wreath retirement season.
Please note, times, dates, and routes are subject to change and may vary in some local areas. To confirm your media participation, please contact the local volunteer.
Just Announced: The 2021 Escort to Arlington
Wreaths Across America’s annual escort to Arlington National Cemetery kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Stops with public events will be held in Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C., before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 18 – National Wreaths Across America Day.
The Last of Four Roundtable Discussions on Veteran Healing in 2021
The fourth and final episode in its 2021 roundtable series focused on Veteran Healing through sharing stories of resilience, purpose, and success. This discussion will air on Thursday, December 23, 2021, at 7PM EST, and can be heard exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio.
Jersey Mike's Subs Donates $500,000 to Matching Campaign
Jersey Mike's Subs has made a $500,000 donation to support a matching campaign from Nov. 15 – 30, 2021, with a goal to sponsor 40,000 veterans’ wreaths for placement this National Wreaths Across America Day – Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.
2021 American Heroes Cup Campaign
Through the end of 2021, for every American Heroes Cup purchased at any of the restaurant’s 110 locations, $2 will be donated to WAA. In 2020, MISSION BBQ customers raised $362,320 for WAA through its American Heroes Cup campaign, sponsoring the placement of more than 36,000 veterans’ wreaths in memory of our nation’s veterans.
Mobile Education Exhibit's 2022 National Tour
In February 2021, the MEE left Maine and began its national tour in Alabama and will be finishing this year's tour as a member of "the escort to Arlington" the weeklong outreach event which will culminate at Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 18th.
Next year's MEE national tour will begin in February. When the MEE pulls into your area, all veterans, active-duty military, their families, and the local community members are invited and encouraged to visit, take a tour, and speak with WAA Ambassadors and volunteers.
Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 Monument
Very little is known about what happened to Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, a military mission plane that went missing on March 16, 1962, with 93 US Army Soldiers on board and 11 crew members. Due to the complexities surrounding the mission, the names of all those who have been lost have not yet been added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. WAA unveiled a memorial to these brave men and women and their families on May 15, 2021.
Running For Wreaths
Wreaths Across America announced its 2021 Race Program which included a 737-mile virtual ESCORT TO ARLINGTON CHALLENGE, two virtual RUNNING FOR WREATHS options (5K and 10K available), and one in-person STEM TO STONE REMEMBRANCE RUN (with a virtual option) which was held in Maine.) These races were very successful, and we want to take a moment to thank everyone who took part.
UPDATE: The Escort to Arlington Challenge is still going on and closes on December 18th, 2021.
Wreaths Across America Radio Roundtables
Earlier this year, Wreaths Across America Radio announced a series of four roundtable discussions focused on Veteran Healing through sharing stories of resilience, purpose and success. This live discussion takes place quarterly, exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio.
The Reinterment of Medal of Honor Recipient SGT Robert McPhelan
Robert was born in 1837 in Laois, Ireland. He immigrated to the United States with his wife Mary and joined the Army. He received his Medal of Honor for Gallantry in action for his time serving with Col Nelson Miles October 1876 through Jan 1877. He was presented the honor on July 18, 1877 from General William T. Sherman. SGT Robert McPhelan was laid to rest in 1884 in Potters Field.
UPDATE: He was respectfully relocated to Leavenworth National Cemetery and received full military honors thanks to the hard work of WAA volunteer Michelle Cebe in Kansas.
An Environmental Story: Wreath Retirement & Fish
WAA volunteers like Cliff Vangilder act as ambassadors for the mission to remember, honor, and teach. They are also environmentally minded as they work to find solutions for logistical challenges associated with wreath laying on Wreaths Across America Day.
One of those challenges is: what to do with the wreaths after honoring our veterans? For the last two years, retired veterans' wreaths have been collected and turned into fish habitat in Tygart Lake, VA providing shelter from predators increasing their chances of maturing and spawning. It helps survival lifespan and reproduction rates necessary for a healthy fishery.
Gold Star Wives MOU Signing
WAA proudly announced the signing of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Gold Star Wives of America to help advance the mission to remember, honor, teach about veterans and their families. Through this writ of Understanding,
WAA has been very fortunate to work with some amazing partners this past year as we all work in unity to Remember, Honor and Teach about our nation’s veterans. This year we have been especially fortunate to work with some enthusiastic and generous organizations who support the mission.
UPDATE: In addition to the partnerships below, look for official announcements from the International Association of Movers coming up.
Military Women's Memorial Grove Dedication
On September 27, 2021, Wreaths Across America, in partnership with the Military Women’s Memorial Foundation, dedicated a section of the organization’s balsam Tip-lands in Columbia Falls, Maine, to America’s military women, past and present, in honor and memory of all women who have served our nation.
The ceremony included an opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, an unveiling of the Grove plaque, remarks by leadership of both organizations and the reading of the names of veterans who will be honored through the Remembrance Tree Program in the new Grove.
Grove Dedication to Daughters of the American Revolution
As part of its Veterans Remembrance Tree Program, WAA dedicated a Grove to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) on the tip lands in Maine. The balsam fir trees in this Grove will now hold the replica dog tags of thousands of veterans, all Revolutionary War-era ancestors of DAR members nationwide.
DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children, and was founded in 1890.
WAA Recommits to the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration
At a flag presentation ceremony held in the Pentagon, WAA reaffirmed its position as a Commemorative Partner of The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.
WAA was among the initial organizations to join the wide-ranging list of commemorative partners supporting the efforts of the Congressionally chartered United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.
Article detailing the history of Wreaths Across America
(1700 words)for Print, Online, Blog or Interview Prep. "The American Dream is Not Lost…It Is Remembered!" By WAA Staff Sean Sullivan and Amber Caron
Photos: Wreaths Across America Staff & Supporters
Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester and Founder Morrill Worcester of Harrington, Maine.
Photos by WAA Staff.
Photos: Mobile Education Exhibit
Steffen Brann (Wreaths Across America MEE driver
and teacher) on the road visiting local communities and executing the Wreaths mission to remember, honor, and teach.
Photos by WAA Staff.
Photos: Events & Volunteers
Volunteers and supporters in the process of laying wreaths and saying the names of our fallen heroes on Wreaths Across America Day
Photos by WAA Staff.
The Annual Wreaths Across America truck convoy will be virtual this year. Trucks will be delivering wreaths to more than 2,000 locations across all 50 states.
Photos by WAA Staff.