The Illinois statehouse Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held Dec. 3, 2013 at noon in the capitol rotunda in Springfield, IL, in conjunction with the nativity ceremony. A wreath-laying ceremony will also be held in Springfield at Camp Butler National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at 11 a.m. The ceremony will be held concurrently at locations across the nation.
SPRINGFIELD — What started over 20 years ago as one man’s dream to honor veterans with wreaths for the holidays has become an annual event cherished by many.
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, and what started out as a small project snowballed into Wreaths Across America, a nationally-recognized event.
The statehouse wreath ceremony will be held Dec. 3, 2013 at noon in the capitol rotunda in Springfield, IL, in conjunction with the nativity ceremony. This statehouse wreath symbolizes the departure of the wreaths from Harrington, MA, on their trek to Arlington.
A wreath-laying ceremony will also be held in Springfield at Camp Butler National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at 11 a.m. The ceremony will be held concurrently at locations across the nation.
Its mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December at Arlington, as well as veterans’ cemeteries at other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
Wreaths Across America also organizes a week of events, including international veterans’ tributes, ceremonies at statehouses and a week-long “Veteran’s Parade” between Maine and Virginia where stops are made along the way to spread the message about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.
Wreaths Across America feels strongly that they do not “decorate” graves. They honor all veterans and active military by placing wreaths on the headstones of veterans. The fresh evergreens are a symbol used for centuries to recognize honor and a living tribute renewed annually.
Wreaths Across America was formed as a non-profit organization in 2007, in direct response to the many letters and requests from supporters all around the country who wanted to get involved with the Arlington Wreath Project in their local communities. If you would like to help, you may sponsor one or more wreaths to be laid at one of the over 200 state and national cemeteries all across the country. Sponsor a wreath at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/act-now/