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Wreaths Decorate Veterans' Graves Nationwide
Date:12/14/2008

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When tractor-trailers arrived at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Saturday laden with 10,000 holiday green wreaths with red bows to decorate veterans' graves, they were greeted by some of the 3,000 people who volunteered to place the wreaths.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake joined them to express the government's appreciation to our nation's veterans and to the business whose generosity brought more than 100,000 wreaths, which were delivered to every VA national cemetery and to private veterans' cemeteries recently.

"This is one of the most beautiful efforts I've seen to honor our nation's heroes," said Peake. "Morrill Worcester is a source of inspiration for others at this holiday season, and deserves thanks for demonstrating the respect we owe to those who defended us."

Worcester, who was presented a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) certificate of commendation by Secretary Peake, is owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine.

This is Worcester's 17th annual donation to Arlington National Cemetery, which is operated by the Department of the Army, and their third year of contributing wreaths to VA national and state veterans cemeteries. This year, all of VA's 125 national cemeteries received at least seven wreaths, one for each branch of service, one for Merchant Marines, one for former prisoners of war, and those missing in action.

Wreath laying ceremonies will be held at many of approximately 350 locations across the country where veterans are buried. The Civil Air Patrol organized the wreath-laying ceremonies with assistance from local citizens and veterans service organizations.

Worcester said he wants the public to remember veterans, honor their service and teach children the value of freedom. "Our freedoms did not come without a tremendous cost and sacrifice," he said. "By placing wreathes on veterans' graves each year, we are pleased to offer a small gesture in honor of our great nation's heroes."

Worcester Wreaths donated nearly 20,000 wreaths to the program. The remaining wreaths were paid for by donors to the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America, which oversees the program. Delivery trucks were contributed by various companies. Some of them left Maine over a week ago to deliver wreaths as far away as California in time for today's coordinated, nation-wide ceremony.


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SOURCE Department of Veterans Affairs
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