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Wreaths Decorate Veterans' Graves Nationwide

Sunday, December 14, 2008 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 When tractor-trailersarrived at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Saturday laden with10,000 holiday green wreaths with red bows to decorate veterans' graves, theywere greeted by some of the 3,000 people who volunteered to place the wreaths.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake joined them to expressthe government's appreciation to our nation's veterans and to the businesswhose generosity brought more than 100,000 wreaths, which were delivered toevery VA national cemetery and to private veterans' cemeteries recently.

"This is one of the most beautiful efforts I've seen to honor our nation'sheroes," said Peake. "Morrill Worcester is a source of inspiration for othersat this holiday season, and deserves thanks for demonstrating the respect weowe to those who defended us."

Worcester, who was presented a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)certificate of commendation by Secretary Peake, is owner of Worcester WreathCompany in Harrington, Maine.

This is Worcester's 17th annual donation to Arlington National Cemetery,which is operated by the Department of the Army, and their third year ofcontributing wreaths to VA national and state veterans cemeteries. This year,all of VA's 125 national cemeteries received at least seven wreaths, one foreach branch of service, one for Merchant Marines, one for former prisoners ofwar, and those missing in action.

Wreath laying ceremonies will be held at many of approximately 350locations across the country where veterans are buried. The Civil Air Patrolorganized the wreath-laying ceremonies with assistance from local citizens andveterans service organizations.

Worcester said he wants the public to remember veterans, honor theirservice and teach children the value of freedom. "Our freedoms did not comewithout a tremendous cost and sacrifice," he said. "By placing wreathes onveterans' graves each year, we are pleased to offer a small gesture in honorof our great nation's heroes."

Worcester Wreaths donated nearly 20,000 wreaths to the program. Theremaining wreaths were paid for by donors to the non-profit organizationWreaths Across America, which oversees the program. Delivery trucks werecontributed by various companies. Some of them left Maine over a week ago todeliver wreaths as far away as California in time for today's coordinated,nation-wide ceremony.

SOURCE Department of Veterans Affairs
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