Maine Wreaths Go to Arlington Cemetery
Wreath escort is underway: wreathsacrossamerica.org. The next ceremony will take place on December 10, 2011 at 12 Noon E.S.T!
Yankee Classic from November 2007
Come with me into the center of the major media event of this day, Thursday, December 14, 2006. It’s 7:30 in the morning, and we’re at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital.
The sun has not yet broken through the gray sky,and you can see the breath from the reporters and photographers huddling in clusters along the leafy drive.
All the major networks are here, including CNN and Fox, as well as newspapers from as near as D.C. and as far as France and Australia. Everyone is waiting for Morrill Worcester and his 5,200 handmade balsam wreaths from Maine.
Cars are lined up outside the cemetery as far as you can see, as if awaiting entry to a big game. Beside me, a photographer from the Associated Press packs up his gear. “This will be impossible,” he says. “I can’t work like this.” He leaves.
At 8:30 the sea of media and volunteers parts, and here comes the truck, “Wreaths Across America” emblazoned on its sides, stacked floor to ceiling with the greens for the gravestones of the military dead. And now here comes the white van, with red, white, and blue stripes, carrying Morrill Worcester, his wife, Karen, and their children.
Alongside is a motorcycle escort, the Patriot Guard Riders. They’ve ridden with the Worcesters from Harrington, Maine, 750 miles down U.S. Route 1, through small towns and cities. Morrill Worcester will call the last four days “the world’s longest veterans’ parade.”
He never asked for this. He never asked for the cameras or the reporters. But Morrill Worcester will end up doing 38 interviews this week — all morning standing patiently in front of one camera or another — a ruddy, solid man of 56 wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket, quiet and unassuming, telling over and over how he came to be here.