The Senate passed resolution #786 on Thursday, officially recognizing Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday Dec. 19.
The national nonprofit's mission is to "Remember, Honor, and Teach," is carried out in part by placement of sponsored veterans’ wreaths at 2500 participating locations across America, most notably, at Arlington National Cemetery, each December.
Another highly anticipated piece of this annual event is the weeklong, miles-long parade of tractor trailers, wrapped vehicles carrying veterans and Gold Star Families, law enforcement and motorcycle riders, leading the escort of wreaths to Arlington for placement.
There had been some question about the annual event at Arlington after cemetery officials canceled the event due to COVID-19. The Department of Defense and President Donald Trump got involved and the cemetery agreed to compromise.
This year’s annual escort of wreaths will have a different look and feel due to the necessary changes being made throughout the country for health and safety. The physical journey – which will include one tractor trailer load of wreaths hauled by Gully Transportation professional driver JD Walker, who is also a Gold Star Father and NAVY Veteran, 11 wrapped CHEVY vehicles carrying Gold Star Families, and nine police cruisers – will take place from Tuesday, Dec. 15, through National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, Dec. 19.
“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, WAA. “The way we have been welcomed into communities, over the years, with flags waving and streets lined with children and veterans, is something we always wished every American could witness. And now, thanks to PenFed’s support, we’ll be able to offer this incredible journey to all those who wish to participate. We are both grateful and excited to safely share the mission with all who want to participate.”
In partnership with PenFed Credit Union’s digital media content team, PenFed Digital, this year’s escort will also be shared virtually for the nation to join along from the safety of their own homes. PenFed Digital and WAA are overcoming pandemic-related challenges to ensure fallen heroes are honored safely. During the escort and leading up to its departure, viewers can follow along, learning about the mission and hearing stories from the people it impacts on Wreaths Across America’s Facebook and PenFed’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn pages. From the professional truck drivers hauling this precious cargo to the hard-working, dedicated volunteers receiving them on the other side of the country, we are going to share their journeys too!
“We are proud to partner with Wreaths Across America to tell the stories of our nation’s veterans – the men and women who served to protect our freedoms,” said James Schenck, CEO of PenFed Credit Union and PenFed Foundation. “It’s even more important that we continue to support the military community and give back during these uncertain times. This year is going to be especially memorable with both in-person events and the sharing of many incredible stories via social media with those at home. Everyone needs patriotism this holiday season and PenFed is proud to support Wreaths Across America’s mission to remember, honor and teach.”
The WAA escort will travel the route below – the nonprofit is asking Americans to plan to come out and wave your flags, share your signs and cheers of encouragement, as it travels through your community.
Tuesday, December 15
- 9:00AM Coastal Washington County Institute of Technology
12 Addison Rd., Columbia, ME 04330
- 10 am Parade through downtown Ellsworth, ME
- 12:45PM Arrive at Central Maine Veterans’ Memorial Park
Roderick Rd, Winslow, ME 04901
- 3:15PM – Arrive at Ocean Gateway, Portland ME
14 Ocean Gateway Pier, Portland, ME 04101
Wednesday, December 16
- 8:00AM Leave Portland (small detour through York Village)
- 10:10AM Arrive at MA State Line
- 12:30PM Parade through portion of Worcester, MA
- 3:30PM Arrives at Regal Cinemas, Branford, CT
325 E. Main St. Branford, CT
- 7:30PM Cross the George Washington Bridge
Thursday, December 17
- 9:45AM Arrive at Vietnam Veterans’ Museum, Holmdel, NJ
1 Memorial Ln, Holmdel, NJ 07733
- 1:30PM Arrive at Holy Rosary Church (The Guardian of the Defenders Memorial)
3200 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703
- 3:30PM Arrive at Whitehall Village
801 Mapleton Ave., Middletown, DE 19709
- 6:00PM Arrive at American Legion Post 278 Kent Island
800 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville, MD 21666
Friday, December 18
- Virtual Event 6:30-8:30PM – Watch LIVE on Wreaths Across America Official Facebook Page
These stops will be held with safety in mind as we ask citizens to tune in to the local radio dials listed below and hear real-time updates from Wreaths Across America Radio who will be traveling in the escort.
- Ellsworth, Maine (parade through town) - 98.5 FM
- Central Maine Veterans Memorial, Winslow, ME- 91.9 FM
- Ocean Gateway, Portland, Maine - 90.7 FM
- Parade through portion of Worcester, MA -97.1 FM
- Branford, CT Regal Cinemas - 91.9 FM
- Vietnam Veterans Museum, Liberty Park, NJ - 91.9 FM
- Holy Rosary Church, Guardians of the Defenders Memorial, Claymont, DE - 90.5 FM
- Whitehall Village, Middletown, DE - 90.5 FM
- American Legion Post 278 Kent Island, Stevensville, MD – 90.3 FM
- 90.5 FM
PenFed Digital is the only group following Wreaths Across America’s escort from Maine, where the wreaths are assembled, to the laying of the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery and around the entire country.
To find a cemetery near you to support or to learn how local events are being modified for safety in your community click here.
You can sponsor a wreath for $15 at https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/. Each sponsorship goes toward a fresh balsam veteran’s wreath that will be placed on the headstone
of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest on Saturday, December 19, 2020, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. You can text WREATH to 20222 to sponsor a wreath for Arlington National Cemetery right from your phone.