Wreaths Across America has become a nationally recognized charity that gained much attention in 2005 after a photo of the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. were decorated with wreaths to honor fallen veterans went viral.
Morrill Worcester owns a company called Worcester Wreath Company out of Harrington, Maine. After realizing that there was a surplus of wreaths during the holiday season, Worchester decided to honor fallen veterans by placing wreaths on the headstones. Although Worcester had been putting wreaths on headstones for more than 25 years, it became a nationally recognized event after a photo went viral in 2005.
Today there are approximately 1,400 cemeteries honored nationwide, and more get added every year. Three of these cemeteries are located throughout Tullahoma and Coffee County, and Coffee County Wreaths across America is looking to honor veterans this holiday season and is asking the community to lend a hand.
The program will place wreathes on the graves of veterans interred at Oakwood, Citizens and Hurricane Grove cemeteries, according to Claude Morse, a member of the local organizing committee. The Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery has also been added this year.
The formal ceremony will take place simultaneously at all the cemeteries on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m., and all branches of the military will be represented at each location.
Ceremony participants will also include local Boy Scouts, military guards and the Marine Corps ROTC from Tullahoma High School, said Morse.
During the ceremonies graves will be honored and observed. According to its website, in 2014, Wreaths Across America laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths on veterans’ graves at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond. This included ceremonies at Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and where the Twin Towers once stood in New York City.
So far, Coffee County Wreaths across America will be placing around 400 wreaths on the graves of the fallen veterans, Morse said. All funds collected locally will be used to order and place wreaths on the graves. Approximately 250 veterans, including an American Revolutionary War soldier, are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Tullahoma alone.
“Placing wreaths on the graves is an incredible way to honor all those who have served and gave us our freedom,” said Morse, who has also dedicated over 20 years of his life to the Air Force.
After money is collected, semi-trucks deliver the wreaths all over the country to their destinations. This is possible due to the trucking partners associated with Wreaths Across America. This year’s deadline to sponsor a wreath is Nov. 26.
The cost to sponsor a wreath begins at $15 sponsors one wreath, $30 sponsors two, $75 sponsors five wreaths and $150 sponsors 15 wreaths.
Checks should be made out to Wreaths Across America TM and dropped off or mailed to Cyndi Clower at Clower Automotive at 1406 McArthur St. in Manchester. Wreaths Across America is a 501c3 nonprofit, and all donations are tax deductible.
For more information on how to volunteer to help raise funds or help place wreaths when they arrive in December, call Bobbie Morse at 931-247-4545 or Cyndi Clower at 931-728-9898.
For more information on Wreaths across America, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. For more information on Coffee County Wreaths across America, call Claude Morse at 931-247-5151. Visit Coffee County TN Wreaths Across America on Facebook to stay up to date on veteran events and Wreaths across America.