Each December, on National Wreaths Across America Day wreath-laying ceremonies are held at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations across the country and abroad. Worcester Wreath Company (the wreath company that provides holiday greenery for L.L. Bean) makes and decorates holiday wreaths and places them on headstones as a tribute and remembrance to American heroes. Morrill Worcester - President of Worcester Wreath Company, based in Harrington, Maine, started this annual event in 1992 to honor our nation’s fallen soldiers.
The Arlington Wreath project, coordinated with the Cemetery Administration and the Maine State Society, adorns the white tombstones with evergreen wreaths and red bows to recognize sacrifices our Veterans and their families have made for our country.
Annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
Saturday, December 16, 2017, Gates open at 8 a.m.
- 9 a.m. Opening Ceremony at the McClellan Arch
- 9:30 a.m. Wreath laying ceremony at President Kennedy’s grave
- 11:30 a.m. Wreath laying ceremony at USS Maine Mast
- Noon Wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- 1 p.m. Two-millionth wreath to be placed by WAA founder Morrill Worcester on Pvt. William Christman’s grave, cemetery’s first military burial (Section 27)
The cemetery will be closed to vehicle traffic until 3 p.m. ANC Tours, Arlington’s interpretative bus tour, will not operate this day. This is a walking event. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring refillable water bottles.
Temporary restrooms will be located throughout the cemetery. Because of the large number of volunteers and lack of adequate parking, participants are highly encouraged to take Metro.
The wreaths will be at Arlington National Cemetery for approximately four weeks. The Cemetery is located across the Potomac River from Washington DC at the west end of the Memorial Bridge in Arlington, Virginia.
Wreaths Across America – Expansion
Due to interest in this project from around the nation, the Arlington Wreath Project now includes over 1,100 participating locations in all 50 states, and 24 national veteran cemeteries abroad. Each year, Wreaths Across America and a national network of volunteers lay over 540,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations. A Moment of Silence will be held at ALL locations on December 16 at Noon EST. To learn more about ceremonies, at locations around the country, see the official website.
Until 2009, Worcester Wreath did not accept donations. The organization has since become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and expanded to include local fundraising groups in all 50 states representing more than 900 cemeteries, military memorials and other locations, along with Arlington National Cemetery. Wreaths Across America is now raising money to help fulfill its mission through sponsorship of wreaths. Donations may also be sent to:
Wreaths Across America
PO Box 256
Harrington, ME 04643
Wreaths Across America also honors veterans with the popular “Thanks a Million” campaign which distributes cards to people all over the country to give veterans a simple “thank you” for their service.
WAA participates in veterans’ events throughout the year, and has a veteran liaison on staff to work with local veterans organizations.