In what must surely be the World's Longest Christmas Parade, the Patriot Guard Riders each year escort a convoy of between 50 and 300 vehicles (depending on weather).
They are transporting Christmas wreaths donated by Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The caravan is quite a sight to witness, with more than 30 tractor-trailer rigs loaded with handmade wreaths to decorate grave sites at Arlington in remembrance of the sacrifices made by those buried there.
Due to the immense popularity of the wreath-laying project, you now have the opportunity to sponsor wreaths. For only $15, you can sponsor a wreath to honor the sacrifice of a service member.
Military-Money-Matters.com has joined with Wreaths Across America as a participating sponsor, and for every 2 wreaths you donate, a 3rd will be added. You can specify which of the participating cemeteries you'd like your wreath to decorate, although not the particular grave.
To have your donation credited to the 3-for-2 program, you must include the ID number, AZMMM01, on your order form.
Even if you're ordering only one wreath, please be sure to include that code. Your order will be combined with someone else's to generate the free wreath.
Wreaths Across America partners with various groups for fundraising purposes, and returns a portion of the proceeds back to the fundraising group.
Military-Money-Matters.com has requested that our portion of any wreaths sponsored by our readers be placed into their 3-for-2 program in order to provide as many wreaths as possible. In 2009, the number of wreaths topped 300,000!
But hurry! The deadline to sponsor wreaths for 2010 is December 2!
The veterans parade will leave Harrington on Sunday, December 5, 2010, and will make numerous stops along the way, presenting wreaths at various schools, hospitals and veterans organizations, and participating in some local parades as well.
They will make their way down US 1, arriving in the Washington, DC, area on Friday evening, December 10. There, a local fire station will help wash the road grime off the trucks before they make their way to Arlington National Cemetery in the early morning hours on Saturday.
The wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, December 11, ending with a nation-wide ceremony and simultaneous silent Moment of Remembrance across the country at 12:00 Noon (EST). As we receive more details, we will post the Schedule of Events at Arlington, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back for updates.
Wreaths will also be donated for a special wreath-laying ceremony at each State Capital and a 36" ceremonial wreath for our Nation's Capital. In addition, ceremonial wreaths representing all branches of the armed forces will be sent to more than 400 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the Country.
For the first time in 2007, ceremonial wreaths were also donated to 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all seven seas.
This tradition of placing wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery began in 1992 when Merrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, donated 5,000 excess wreaths to be placed on graves at Arlington for Christmas. The gesture has been repeated each year. In 2007, the company doubled its donation to provide 10,000 wreaths.
The company also covers the trucking costs to transport the wreaths to Arlington, and is hoping enough trucking companies will donate their services to have 50 tractor-trailer rigs carrying wreaths, one for each state. Trucking companies interested in participating can find more information here.
In response to citizen requests to participate in the project, the non-profit Wreaths Across America was formed to coordinate volunteers and related activities nationwide. There will be concurrent wreath-laying ceremonies in veterans cemeteries across the country on Saturday, December 12. Click on the link to find the veterans cemetery nearest you, along with the local coordinator's name and phone number for additional information.
If you happen to live near the "parade route" and would like to participate as the wreaths pass through your area, check the wreath escort itinerary.
If you have any questions regarding this year's wreath escort or how you might participate in this project, you may contact Wreaths Across America HQ.
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