Friday, December 9, 2011

Wreaths Across America Visits York County

Convoy stops in Kittery for special ceremony before continuing to Arlington National Cemetery.

By Molly McCoy
Staff Reporter


On Monday morning, December 5, the Wreaths Across America (WAA) convoy traveled through York County, making stops at Kennebunk Town Hall, Wells Middle School and Kittery Trading Post (KTP) before continuing the journey to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The large group of trucks, busses, cars, motorcycles and police escorts began on Sunday, December 4 in Harrington, Maine, and will reach the Cemetery on Saturday, December 10.

According to its website, Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded “to continue and expand the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992.” The organization’s mission, “Remember, Honor, Teach,” is carried out with the help of thousands of volunteers who aid at local, regional and national levels. This year’s convoy included the annual participants (wreath trucks, local and state police, Patriot Guard Riders and retired and active military personnel), in addition to the American Gold Star Mothers, Wives, Fathers, Husbands and Children, and Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage, all of whom joined the trip for the first time this year.

At 10 a.m. on December 5, the entire “parade” came to a halt outside of Kittery Trading Post on Route 1 before passing the Maine border into New Hampshire. Once the trucks had turned off their engines, the sirens had ceased, and the many Patriot Guard Riders had dismounted their rumbling motorcycles, the group proceeded inside KTP for a special ceremony and wreath dedication.

John and Bunny O’Leary of the Patriot Guard Riders started the program and thanked both the participants and visitors for their support. Founder and coordinator of Run for the Fallen Maine (RFTFM) John Mixon presented Karen and Morrill Worcester of WAA with sweatshirts, tee-shirts, 2011 ornaments and a commemorate DVD of this summer’s event. Mixon also presented Ann LePage with a 2011 ornament on behalf of RFTFM. The ceremony continued with wreath dedications, words from the Worcesters, Ann LePage, and other participants, and music by Don Campbell and his wife Tonya. Don and Tonya performed their original song, “The Snow at Arlington,” which was inspired by WAA and is available on their latest Christmas Album, “A Don Campbell Christmas, Volume 2.”

Maine First Lady Ann LePage, who joined the convoy for the first time this year, is traveling with WAA the entire length of the trip. “This is so incredible,” she said. “I have never done anything of which I have been more proud or honored to be even a small part. I’ve never been to Arlington, and this is such a meaningful way to make the trip.” Governor LePage will join the group in Virginia on Saturday, December 10 for the wreath laying ceremony.

For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit

Photo Caption: Among the wreaths dedicated at the Monday morning ceremony was a special wreath for Kittery Trading Post (KTP), accepted by Vice President, Specialty Sports Division, Jon Morrill. Wreaths Across America thanked KTP for hosting the ceremony and for their ongoing support of veterans’ causes. Pictured (left to right): Executive Director of WAA Karen Worcester, WAA Founder Morrill Worcester, Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage, and Jon Morrill. (Photo by Molly McCoy)