Short History of Wreaths Across America | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog

Short History of Wreaths Across America

Published on December 3, 2012 under Born To Ride

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention. 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.

Unable to donate thousands of wreaths to each state, Worcester began sending seven wreaths to every state, one for each branch of the military, and for POW/MIAs. In 2006, with the help of the Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations, simultaneous wreath laying ceremonies were held at over 150 locations around the country. The Patriot Guard Riders volunteered as escort for the wreaths going to Arlington. This began the annual “Veterans Honor Parade” that travels the east coast in early December.

The annual trip to Arlington and the groups of volunteers eager to participate in Worcester’s simple wreath-laying event grew each year until it became clear the desire to remember and honor our country’s fallen heroes was bigger than Arlington, and bigger than this one company.

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans, and other groups and individuals who had helped with their annual Christmas wreath ceremony in Arlington, formed Wreaths Across America, a non-profit 501-c3 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  ~those who have FALLEN

HONOR  ~those who have SERVED

TEACH  ~our children the value of FREEDOM


The summer of 2006 a group of U.S. Military Veterans came across the Wreaths Across America website and realized The Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL had not been enrolled to receive wreaths. The U.S. Military Vets M/C with pride and ambition hosted the Wreath laying ceremony that same year to honor their fallen Brothers and Sisters. We may have started out small but we did it with honor and pride so, with 7 Ceremonial Wreaths, 40 people in attendance and in pouring rain, we held our first ceremony.

With the help of the Civil Air Patrol and few other sponsoring groups we were able to place 88 holiday wreaths on the graves our second year.  One day, with your support and sponsorships we will be able to adorn each and every grave and honor our fallen heros at Bushnell National Cemetery.

December 13, 2008 was unanimously voted by the US Congress as “Wreaths Across America Day”.

In 2010, Wreaths Across America and our national network of volunteers laid over 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the United States and beyond. We accomplished this with help from 902 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands.

The wreath laying is still held annually, on the second Saturday of every December. Our annual pilgrimage has become known as the world’s largest veteran’s parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veteran’s homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach.  We participate in Veterans’ events throughout the year, and have a Veteran liaison on staff to work with local Veterans organizations.

Wreaths Across America would not be successful without the help of volunteers, active organizations and the generosity of the trucking industry. We thank them for working with us to remember the men and women who served our country, honor our military and their families, and teach our children about our freedom and those who protect it.


To learn more about Wreaths Across America or how you can participate on

Dec. 15th, please visit or contact:

Steve Leinwand (813) 504 – 2372

Jack Sellars (863) 838 – 9769

Becki Smith (863) 668-4255


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