ARLINGTON, Va. — At 1,640 participating locations nationwide, American citizens in every state placed 1.8 million veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during national Wreaths Across America Day December 15.
At Arlington National Cemetery alone, nearly 60,000 rain-soaked volunteers placed 253,000 wreaths.
The event is sponsored by Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.
Nearly 600 truckloads of wreaths were transported across the country through a network of hundreds of volunteer drivers, donated trucking and diesel, and countless hours of dedicated volunteers committed to the Wreaths Across America mission to “remember, honor and teach.
On Friday evening, Truckload Carriers Association Chairman Dan Doran and TCA Image Committee Co-Chair and Pilot Flying J’s Wendy Hamilton recognized nearly 80 professional truck drivers during the 2018 WAA Appreciation Rally.
“Wreaths Across America brings diverse people and communities together across the country to celebrate all that is good and just,” said Karen Worcester, WAA executive director. “It is our obligation as Americans to teach our children – and each other – about the value of our freedom and the character of the men and women who serve to protect it.”
Karen Worcester said each live, balsam veteran’s wreath is a gift of respect and appreciation, donated by a private citizen or organization and placed on the graves by volunteers as a small gesture of gratitude for the freedoms Americans enjoy.
“For centuries, fresh evergreens have been used as a symbol of honor and have served as a living tribute renewed annually,” she said. “Wreaths Across America believes the tradition represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active duty military and their families. Volunteers are asked to say the name of the veteran out loud when placing a wreath to ensure their memory lives on.”
At the Friday evening event, some 800 people — trucking executives, professional truck drivers, military dignitaries, WAA convoy participants, and supporters — attended.
During the trucking industry presentation, Doran and Hamilton invited all professional truck drivers who were in the audience to come forward to be recognized; each received a one-of-a-kind, commemorative 2018 Wreaths Across America hat.
“Motor carriers have answered the call by not only delivering wreaths safely and on time to military veterans cemeteries, but by donating equipment, fuel, and most importantly their drivers’ time,” Doran said. “Tonight, let’s celebrate this great nation as well as the professional truck drivers who help carry out Wreaths Across America’s mission of remember, honor teach.”
“The truckload of wreaths that you delivered earlier today is a truckload of respect,” Hamilton told drivers. “Many of you have served our country as well as our industry and for that we are forever grateful.”
To learn more about Wreaths Across America, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.