2016-12-12 / Front Page

Wreaths Across America travels through Bath

BY NATHAN STROUT
Times Record Staff


BATH RESIDENTS cheer on vehicles transporting 245,000 wreaths south to Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America. BATH RESIDENTS cheer on vehicles transporting 245,000 wreaths south to Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America. BATH

O n Sunday, the Wreaths Across

America caravan passed through Bath on the first day of their nearly week-long trip to Arlington National Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit based in Columbia Falls, Maine. The tradition of laying wreaths at the headstones in Arlington National Cemetery began in 1992 with Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Co., who donated 5,000 wreaths. Since then, the tradition has grown, with the nonprofit being established in 2007 to coordinate the effort.

Last year, more than 900,000 wreaths were placed at headstones across the country, with 240,815 being placed in Arlington National Cemetery. This year marks the 25th year of the handmade balsam wreaths being placed in Arlington National Cemetery.

The 2016 Grand Marshal of the Wreaths Across America convoy is Candy Martin, 2016 president of the American Gold Star Mothers. She led the procession of well over two dozen vehicles, including 10 tractor-trailers, a VIP coach, six police cruisers, and various other motorists who will join the caravan for sections of the trip.

“The Escort to Arlington is one small, symbolic piece of the entire Wreaths Across America package of Remember, Honor, Teach. I am truly honored to be part of such a wonderful opportunity,” said Martin. “As we travel down the countryside from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, I once again look forward to connecting with people from each community, hearing their stories of love and loss, and saying the names of their local heroes.”

The convoy will travel down the East Coast, making a number of stops, before arriving in Arlington on Saturday, which has been declared “National Wreaths Across America Day.” There, the 245,000 wreaths will be placed throughout the cemetery by volunteers.

Marta Laser, who was there with her husband Keith, a Navy veteran of 20 years and Pat Shannon, was one of the many people who gathered along Leeman Highway to cheer the caravan as it passed through Bath Sunday evening.

“This is really building momentum,” said Marta Laser. “It’s a beautiful tribute to the veterans. And it’s so important to keep their memory alive and to be grateful for their sacrifices.”

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