Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery

Laura Pisano

Morrill Worcester, a wreath company owner, wanted a way to pay tribute to veterans who had lost their lives. Twenty years ago, he put his unsold wreaths, along with others on the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. The first time he did this, he laid 5,000 wreaths out. Morrill has continued this tradition each year, and this year he put 100,000 wreaths on the headstones.

Morrill’s company is located in eastern Maine, so he had to have over 20 trucks help him deliver this year’s load. Throughout the six day trip from Maine to Virginia (where the cemetery is located), they stopped at schools, veterans hospitals, and different communities to attend different ceremonies that paid tribute to the fallen veterans.

Worcester told NPR, “We haven’t really tried to push it; it’s just really grown on its own…We have a hard time keeping up with it.” Including the stops along the way to Arlington, it is estimated that Morrill lays out 225,000 wreaths. The wreath laying started off fairly small, with a short ceremony and very little notice. A few years ago someone put a photo on the internet of Morrill with all of his wreaths on the headstones. From then on out, others wanted to join him, and the project just kept getting bigger.

Morrill now receives generous donations from friends and other companies to make more and more wreaths each year. The actual ceremony has continued to grow each year too. This year, it is expected to attract 10,000 people! The next goal Morrill says is to do, “the whole cemetery for our 25th anniversary.” More information about the wreath program, and how you can contribute, can be found on http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.