Patriot Guard Riders
Escort Wreaths to Arlington

Air Force pilot helps lay Christmas wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery

A group of patriotic motorcycle enthusiasts known as the Patriot Guard Riders, many of them veterans themselves, escorted 10,000 Christmas Wreaths donated by Worcester Wreath Company from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the graves of American veterans for Christmas. The purpose of the project is "to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom," according to Merrill Worcester, owner of the company, who has donated 5,000 wreaths each year, beginning in 1992.

This year, the donation was doubled to 10,000 wreaths. The project has become so popular that earlier this year, Worcester started a non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America, to allow other individuals to participate in the program.

For a heart-warming account of the daily ride, and the heavy personal involvement of the Worcester family, written by one of the ride captains, go to Patriot Guard Riders, and scroll down to the headline that says "WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA -- HARRINGTON, MAINE - ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETARY" [sic]. You'll find it just below several photos of the ride, culminating with the photo above.

The wreath escort was joined along the way by local police and fire departments, who safely escorted the caravan through the various towns along its 740-mile path. Once the escort reached Maryland on Friday, a local Harley Davidson dealer provided lunch for the entire group. Then a local fire department washed the dirt and grime off the wreath-bearing trucks and stood guard through the night.

Saturday morning, the escort snaked its way into Washington, and to Arlington, where close to 3,000 volunteers waited to help place the wreaths. It was a moving experience for those who participated.

If you'd like more information about the wreath project, including information on how you can participate, go to Wreaths Across America.

World's Longest Christmas Parade

Wreaths at Arlington


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