Friday, December 21, 2007

Where valor sleeps

They shall grow not old As we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them ... Nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, And in the morning, We will remember them!
– Lawrence Binyon

Have you ever seen Arlington National Cemetery? It’s an eye-blinking, jaw-clenching, throat-closing place to experience.

Early last week, an OOIDA member from Maine sent me an article that proved to be one of the best Christmas news stories I’ve heard this month. It involved an effort to truck thousands of wreaths to Arlington.

The Kennebunk Journal described a 40-vehicle convoy – two semis and dozens of other escort vehicles – rolling down U.S. Route 1. When that newspaper’s reporter did his story on Dec. 9, the convoy was south of Wiscasset. The convoy was carrying donated surplus wreaths to the cemetery to lay on the headstones of those patriots who rest there for eternity.

It was a weeklong mission in which veterans, truck drivers and other “Wreaths Across America” volunteers took thousands of wreaths to Arlington County, VA, from a warehouse in Maine.

Our XM Satellite Radio show, “Land Line Now,” found it riveting, too. News Anchor Reed Black called the man in Maine who began the project 16 years ago.

Worcester Wreath Co. President Morrill Worcester said it all started when his company had a surplus of wreaths back in 1992, and it was late in the season, too late to expect them to be sold. They were too beautiful to waste, and he decided they should go to Arlington to honor the veterans.

One really neat thing about this story: The convoy did not just zoom down the interstates. It took U.S. Route 1, so it could stop at places like veterans homes and people could line up along the road and wave. As The Kennebunk Journal reports, it was “slow but highly visible.”

The wreath convoy took a full week to work its way down U.S. Highway 1 from Maine to Arlington. As Worcester talked with Reed, the convoy was passing through Darien, CT.

Meanwhile, we found out the company doubled the greenery headed to Arlington, from 5,000 to 10,000. And for the first time in 2007, ceremonial wreaths were donated to 24 veterans’ cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all seven seas.

The wreath placement ceremonies took place Saturday, Dec. 15.

The charity now has a Web site, click here to see it. where you can see stunning photos and video of the red-bowed wreaths being placed up against the pristine white stone markers. You can even sponsor a wreath – something you might keep in mind for next year.

Reed’s radio piece aired Dec. 14. If you missed it, you can catch the repeat on Dec. 24. The story will also appear on our Land Line Magazine’s holiday Web news edition.