Maine Wing and squadron members of the Civil Air Patrol are major partners in Wreaths Across America. The groups once again invite the public to sponsor remembrance wreaths for placement on the graves of veterans on Dec. 15 to honor those who served the U.S. as well as current military members. Sponsors can even designate where the wreaths will be laid in the local community.
The CAP coincide with Wreaths Across America tributes occurring simultaneously across the nation, including Arlington National Cemetery, where the initiative began 20 years ago with the placement of 5,000 wreaths donated by Morrell Worcester, owner of the Harrington, Maine, Worcester Wreath Co. In 2006 Worcester and his family formed Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit initiative that recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. veterans by placing the wreaths on the graves of the fallen during the year-end holiday season.
State ceremonies will be held Dec. 10 at noon EST in all 50 states.
For seven Decembers now Civil Air Patrol has adorned memorials and veterans' graves with evergreen wreaths to make sure the sacrifices of the nation's soldiers are not forgotten. Last year, members of the public sponsored the placement of more than 325,000 wreaths at 700-plus cemetery and memorial sites in all 50 states, as well as locations overseas.
Wreaths Across America ceremonies are conducted largely by CAP Wings and squadrons with the help of veterans organizations, private citizens, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C., which annually assists with the laying of wreaths at Arlington, and the Patriot Guard Riders.
The escort to Arlington will begin Dec. 8 with a sunrise ceremony at Quoddy Head State Park at 5:30 a.m. , followed by the noon Wreath Ceremony on the Bridge in Calais.
Landmarks on the route on Sunday, Dec. 9, will be as follows: 10 a.m., Holden Elementary School, Route 1A; 10:30 a.m., Dysart's Truck Stop, I-95 Exit 180; 1:30 p.m., Waterville Elks Club, I-95 Exit 130; 4:15 p.m., stop in Freeport, I-295 Exit 22 to Route 1; 5 p.m., arrive at Cheverus High School in Portland; 7 p.m., arrive at Cabela's in Scarborough.
On Monday, Dec. 10, the transport will arrive at Westbrook Middle School at 7 a.m., Wells Middle School at 10:45 a.m. and at Kittery Trading Post at noon, before leaving for New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Ceremonies at Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 15, will be as follows: 8 a.m., cemetery gates open to public; 8:30 a.m., truck parade arrives at main gate; 9:30 a.m., opening ceremonies at Memorial Amphitheater; 9:45 a.m., HMX1 helicopters flyby; 11 a.m., wreath-laying at President Kennedy's gravesite; 11:30 a.m., wreath-laying at USS Maine Mast; noon, wreath-laying at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
For more information about Wreaths Across America and participating locations visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. To order wreaths go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/store. More information is also available at www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com.