Tis The Season to Remember Our Fallen: "Wreaths Across America" Honors the Memories of Our Fallen Military Members
Christmas time for many of us is a time of celebration and joy. We look forward to the day when we sit down as a family to watch our favorite Christmas movie. We beam at the sight of our children running under the tree to open their gifts. We sing with spirit and enthusiasm to our favorite carols and hymns. To many it’s a time of expressing gratitude for the people we have in our lives.
In many of those families, someone they know and love has been willing to sacrifice his or her life to ensure such happy times continue. They fight for our family, for our God, and for our happiness. Some of these families are fortunate to see their loved ones return home after serving their duty. Then there are others who must enjoy this time of year without the ones who left home…and never returned.
Thanks to generous effort headed by Morrill Worcester, these families have a chance to remember and honor their lost loved ones.
On December 14, 2012, WLTX news of Columbia, South Carolina reported that nearly 2,000 wreaths were brought into the Midlands. They were to be transported to the headstones at Fort Jackson’s cemetery. Volunteers were called upon to attend the cemetery the next day to help place the wreaths upon the headstones.
The delivery was made possible by Danny Burgess, who drives delivery trucks for G&P Trucking. Burgess is also a Navy Vet himself. He is a local resident who makes the three day trip from South Carolina to Maine and back to deliver the wreaths every year.
"That's when I get a little teary," Burgess said in an interview with WLTX. "It's an honor to do it."
Carol Davis oversees the delivery for Columbia and has been doing so since the organization was founded 4 years ago. Needless to say, she's been overwhelmed by the growing support from the Midlands for this organization.
"It is absolutely amazing to me. You let the need be known and the people come," remarked Davis.
The organization known as “Wreaths Across America” began under the direction of Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. One year when he was 12 years old, he had won a trip to visit Washington DC. One of his stops included Arlington Cemetery, which made an impact so powerful in his mind that he hoped one day he would be able to pay homage for all those who died in service to their country.
In 1992, he got his chance as he found himself with a surplus of wreaths. He decided that year to transport the wreaths to one of the older sections of the cemetery. Over time, he received assistance from various local people, including James Prout who owns the trucking company Blue Bird Ranch, Inc., and volunteers from the local American Legion and VFW Posts. By 2005, the effort had gained national attention as photos circulated on the internet and Worcester received many requests to bring the wreaths to their respective areas. By 2007, the organization was born, providing wreaths and support for other areas across the nation to decorate veteran cemeteries.
More detailed information about the organization can be found at the link below:
The Christmas wreath is only used but once a year. We’ve perceived it as one of many symbols to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Even for those who are not Christians, the wreath stands as a strong symbol to appreciate all that we have in our lives. It’s one of many icons that we proudly display on our doors and windows, showing our neighbors how happy we are in our lives.
However, if you really take the time to think about what the wreath stands for, you’ll see that it mirrors the very principles of our military members. In the US Army, their motto is, “This We’ll Defend.” In the US Marines, it is, “Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful).” In the US Coast Guard, it is: “Semper Paratus (Always Ready).” What do all these themes have in common? They ask for each of their service people to be loyal, to live with compassion, and to always have honor. It is by these principles that the military members find the strength and courage needed to fight for the ones they love. Loyalty, heart, honor: all principles that we all should live by in our own communities.
The Christmas wreath is more than just a symbol that reminds us to live by high moral standards and providing us with a good feeling of warmth and comfort. It encourages us to live by these principles on a daily basis. When one person suffers, ten others come together to lift that person back up on his or her feet. Never leave a fellow soldier behind: we’ve heard this statement before. Shouldn’t the same principle be applied when it comes to our neighbors and families?
Our brave soldiers have been trained to live by this belief, and many have died to uphold it. We don’t know them, yet I’m sure many of them touch a special place in our hearts. We don’t know what it’s like to endure the horrors of war, yet we feel the sense of loss and sorrow just from knowing why they died. So if you feel this way for someone you’ve never met, can you possibly imagine how it must feel for their families and friends to look upon their graves?
The men and women who bore arms for our freedoms and joys deserve to be recognized and remembered. They encompass the very principles and values of Christmas…that is the foundations of kindness and love for all. They lived to exemplify these values and were willing to die for it. That’s the kind of mission that deserves our salute and our gratitude. Our society cannot survive without the desire to provide help to those who cannot fend for themselves. These soldiers are a testament to that very foundation that has helped America became the loving and philanthropic country that she is today.
So the next time you enjoy your holiday times and hang your wreath, remember the service people who gave you the chance to hang that wreath for all to display. Remember what the real message is and the sacrifices our brave soldiers have made to ensure we never forget it.