On an unassuming part of route 1, in northern Maine, is a business that reaches thousands-even millions of people across the globe. The Wreaths Across America Headquarters, in quiet Columbia Falls, Maine was a lifelong dream of Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine. His dream has grown to a worldwide acknowledgment and remembrance of every veteran who has given of themselves to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.
Every December on National Wreaths Across America Day, wreath-laying ceremonies are performed in a massive coordinated effort in multiple countries as well as out to sea. To date, more than 2,100 locations “Remember, Honor, and Teach” by laying beautiful wreaths made right here in Columbia Falls.
Find a location near you by going to the site: Wreathsacrossamerica.org, where all the locations are listed. If you can not find your specific location, you can also become a Location Coordinator for a cemetery in your area.
Their mission; Remember, Honor, Teach can be found throughout the many outreach programs WAA offers.
REMEMBER National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers place a wreath on a veteran’s grave and are encouraged to say that Veteran’s name out loud and thank them for their service. Other ceremonies include special memorials held at Pearl Harbor, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The HART Ceremony (Honoring Allies and Remembering Together)conducted each year to honor veterans of our nation’s allies. WAA hosted statehouse ceremonies in nearly all 50 states.
Through the Remembrance Tree Program, which is another way to remember our veterans. Families of veterans can contact WAA and give information on their loved one. The family is then taken out to find a tree that will be their living memorial to their loved one. A dog tag with the family’s special message printed on it will be placed on the truck of the chosen evergreen tree. A marker is placed on the tree to show it has been chosen as a memorial and these memorial trees are tipped every three years to make the veteran’s wreaths that are placed in December.
The WAA Museum is a 1,800 square foot facility showcasing hundreds of items that have been donated to Wreaths Across America over the years. It is open year-round, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..
HONOR WAA conducts several programs to honor our veterans, including the “Thanks-A-Million” campaign, which distributes free thank-you cards to people all over the country to share with veterans. The group also participates in numerous events throughout the year.
TEACH WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms and honoring those who sacrificed to protect them. Through learning tools, interactive media, and stopping at many schools on the way to Arlington, this important message is shared with hundreds of youth. There is a downloadable curriculum for schoolchildren available on the website if you are interested in learning more.