Worcester Wreath Company Announces Schedule for Annual Wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, across Nation

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Patriot Guard Riders to escort donated wreaths all the way from Maine to Washington, D.C.

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Worcester Wreath Company announced its schedule today for the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 200 locations across the nation.

Dec. 14 will mark the 15th year of 5,000 wreaths being donated to adorn the headstones of those buried at Arlington, in appreciation of veterans and the sacrifices they made for their country.

In addition, 2006 marks an expansion of the Arlington Wreath Project with a new national campaign called Wreaths Across America.

During the national campaign, wreath-laying ceremonies will be coordinated simultaneously at more than 200 locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. At each participating location, five wreaths with flags representing the each branch of America's armed services and a sixth wreath bearing the POW-MIA flag will be placed during a wreath-laying ceremony administered with Civil Air Patrol, veterans organizations and other civic-minded groups participating.

An open invitation is extended to participate in the wreath-laying activities at Arlington or one of the many other locations around the country (specific locations available at http://www.wreaths-across-america.org). Those not able to participate are asked to observe a moment of remembrance (silence) at noon EDT in recognition of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.

Morrill Worcester, president of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, explains the motivation that started the annual event 15 years ago when his company was faced with a surplus of wreaths late in the holiday season. "I was 21 years old when I started Worcester Wreath. That is the same average age of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit and defense of the freedoms we enjoy today. The way I see it, they gave me the opportunity to develop and enjoy my business; to raise my family. If our efforts raise awareness about their sacrifices and those of their families who will be without loved ones these holidays, it is the least I can do. I only wish I could decorate every grave."

Also for the first time in 2006, the Patriot Guard Riders -- a motorcycle and motor vehicle group with over 65,000 members nationally who are dedicated to patriotic events and escorts -- will escort the tractor-trailer loaded with donated wreaths destined for Arlington.

With anywhere between 50-300 vehicles joining in the procession (dependent on the weather), the convoy will begin its journey from Harrington on Dec. 10. Traveling U.S. Route 1 for most of the journey, the escort will arrive in the Washington, D.C., area late on Dec. 13.

Wreath-laying ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. EDT ending with a nationwide ceremony and moment of remembrance at noon EDT.

The following itinerary is planned for the traveling procession, with online updates provided each half-hour at http://www.wreaths-across-america.org.

Sunday, Dec. 10 -- Harrington, Maine

9 a.m. - Volunteers gather and decorate wreaths destined for Arlington

Noon - Wreaths loaded and escort departs Harrington for Washington, D.C., via U.S. Route 1.

7 p.m. - Escort reaches Freeport, Maine, for evening accommodations.

Monday, Dec. 11 -- Freeport, Maine

6:45 a.m. - Escort departs Freeport

5:30 p.m. - Escort reaches Westerly, R.I., for evening accommodations

Tuesday, Dec. 12 -- Westerly, R.I.

6:45 a.m. - Escort departs Westerly

5:30 p.m. - Escort reaches Trenton, N.J., for evening accommodations

Wednesday, Dec. 13 -- Trenton, N.J.

6:45 a.m. - Escort departs Trenton

5:30 p.m. - Escort reaches outskirts of Washington, D.C., for evening accommodations

Thursday, Dec. 14 -- Washington, D.C. (Arlington National Cemetery)

6:45 a.m. - Escort proceeds into the city

8:30 a.m. - Welcome and event briefing for all participants

8:55 a.m. - Invocation

9 a.m. - Wreath-laying in designated sections (3 and 11)

10:30 a.m. - Wreath-laying at Edmund Muskie grave

11 a.m. - Wreath-laying at Kennedy family memorials

11:30 a.m. - Wreath-laying at mast of the U.S.S. Maine

11:45 a.m. - Gather at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Noon - Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and in coordination with wreath-laying ceremonies in all 50 states and Puerto Rico; and moment of silence.

To read more about this story, please visit http://www.cap.gov/visitors/news/cap_news_online/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&nodeID=6192&newsID=2483&year=2006&month=11.

For more information about the Arlington Wreath Project and Wreaths Across America, please visit http://www.wreaths-across-america.org or contact Maj. Wayne Merritt at (207) 483-2039 or Dennis Murray at (207) 427-3421.

For more information about one of America's premier all-volunteer humanitarian organizations, the all-volunteer, Civil Air Patrol, contact Jim Tynan at (334) 953-9949.

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