The holiday season is big for trucking, with carriers busier than any other time of year. Any moment to relax is precious. Still, hundreds in the industry rush to volunteer their free time to participate in Wreaths Across America (WAA), delivering holiday wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and other military cemeteries all across the country.
The delivery and placement of wreaths on the graves of U.S. soldiers started in 1992, when Morrill Worcester, owner of a wreath company in Maine, had a surplus of merchandise. He made arrangements to have these extra wreaths shipped to Arlington, where they were placed on the older graves that didn’t have many visitors.
As word spread, others volunteered to help, and the trucking industry started turning out in force. Last year, WAA placed more than 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the U.S. and beyond, including more than 225,000 wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery. Every year men and women in every part of the trucking industry donate time and trucks to make that success possible.
These days, an entire convoy of trucks head to Arlington for National Wreaths Across America Day, cheered on by residents lining the streets.
“When we got to the main gates of Arlington, the military had an honor guard and the different trucks were directed to different parts of the cemetery, where volunteers met the trucks and the wreaths were distributed and placed on the graves,” one participating driver remembers. “While the trucks were being unloaded, I was just sitting and watching them. And then after it was done, I looked out and saw the number of wreaths. It showed our respect for the men and women buried there in some small way. We hadn’t forgotten about them.”
National Wreaths Across America Day happens on December 17, and any company or driver who wants to be part of it can sign up now to choose a route.