Wreaths Funds Needed For Ceremonies
Special December wreath-laying ceremonies to honor veterans buried in Wesson Cemetery need donations to cover costs of another 200 wreaths.
The local wreath-laying event, part of a nationwide program that honors deceased war veterans, is December 18.
"We're still need wreathes," says Socks for Heroes' (SFH) Cathy Stroud. The wreaths costs $15 each, and contributions can be made to Stroud at 1032 Cotton Street, Wesson, Mississippi 39191. Call 601-695-4140 for information.
Wesson-based SFH organizes Christmas season wreath-laying on veterans' graves at Wesson Cemetery, among 2,100 nationwide where ceremonies sponsored by Wreaths Across America honor men and women who sacrificed their lives in the armed forces.
WAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.
"Our mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and to teach our children the value of freedom," Stroud says. "We take time out to recognize the people that made the ultimate sacrifice."
WAA started in 1992 when Worcester Wreath in Maine found itself with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering a moving boyhood experience at Arlington National Cemetery, owner Morrill Worcester seized on it as an opportunity to honor the country’s veterans. With the aid of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, he arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year. A number of other individuals and organizations stepped up to help, including a local trucking company that transported the wreaths to Virginia, volunteers from local American Legion and VFW Posts and members of the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. who helped make wreaths and organized laying them.
The event continued quietly each year until 2005, when a photo of gravestones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. The event drew national attention and expanded to thousands of other locations where the Arlington ceremonies were emulated. Nearly two million veteran wreaths are placed on headstones at participating cemeteries around the country.
The Arlington wreath-laying is still held annually, on the second or third Saturday of December. WAA's annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery has become known as the world’s largest veterans’ parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach about the contributions of those who served their country in war time.