Wreaths Across America at Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Christmas wreaths adorn head stones at Arlington National Cemetery. The 14th annual wreath laying event is the result of Worcester Wreath Company’s owner Morrill Worcester’s, childhood dream of doing something to honor those laid to rest in the national cemetery. More than 5,000 donated wreaths were placed by volunteers this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

MILLSBORO – The Wreaths Across America Remembrance Day at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15.

“We set a goal of 2,800 wreaths this year,” said Teresa Townsend, the new location coordinator for National Wreaths Across America Day at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro. “This would allow us to lay wreaths at every gravesite in the fields, beautifully decorate the columbariums with wreaths and have the additional wreaths needed for special graves and the entrance to cemetery.”

On Saturday, Dec. 15, volunteers are asked to carpool, if possible, as there is very limited parking at the cemetery, located at 26669 Patriots Way, Millsboro. It is even more important that volunteers know not to park on any of the grass because of the sprinkler system within the cemetery.

Wreaths will be placed on graves of veterans beginning at 10:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to arrive early at 10 a.m. for instruction.

If it is snowing that morning, volunteers are asked to bring a broom to help remove snow from the grave markers so that “we will be able to say their names to honor the veterans,” Ms. Townsend said. “Wreaths Across America promotes ‘Say Their Names’ as being more important than the symbolic laying of the wreaths.”

There are over 4,000 veterans buried in the Millsboro cemetery.

The simultaneous worldwide ceremony for Wreaths Across America will begin promptly at noon in the chapel/administrative building. At this time a program will be held, and all branches of the military will be honored.

Last year, Wreaths Across America and their national network of volunteers laid over 1,565,000 memorial wreaths at more than 1,440 locations in all 50 states and beyond.

The world’s longest veterans’ parade (The Veterans Honor Parade) starts Sunday, Dec. 9 in Harrington, Maine — the state where this tribute was born — and the Delaware State House wreath laying ceremony is Monday, Dec. 10 at 11:30 a.m. in Dover.

The Wreaths Across America campaign began in the state of Maine, when the owner of a wreath company, Morrill Worcester, had a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season.

Remembering his experience in a trip to Washington, D.C. and Arlington National Cemetery as a boy, Mr. Worcester seized the opportunity to honor America’s veterans. With the aid of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention.

 

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