Governor and First Lady Join Thousands of Wreaths Across America Volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery

December 14, 2013

For Immediate Release: Saturday, Dec. 14 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – On Saturday, Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann M. LePage participated in the annual Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery where more than 142,000 remembrance wreaths were placed on graves. The Governor and First Lady joined more than 25-thousand volunteers from across the country to remember those who have served our nation with dignity and honor.

Governor LePage and Mrs. LePage also placed a wreath at the mast of the U.S.S. Maine with various members of Maine law enforcement, including officers from the Portland Police Department. The U.S.S. Maine mast was removed from the ship in 1905 shortly before the ship was taken out to sea and sunk with military honors. The mast was then installed above a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery in honor of those who lost their lives when the ship sank in Havana, Cuba, Harbor in 1898. This sinking was the event that started off the Spanish-American War.

Since 1992, Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine have organized a group of volunteers to place wreaths in Arlington, Virginia. This is the third year, Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage traveled with the Wreaths Across America convoy – referred to as “The Arlington Project” – from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, which began on Sunday, December 8.

“Nearly 100 carriers donated equipment and fuel for transporting the wreaths nationwide and more than 200 professional truck drivers donated their time,” she said. “The support this project has received is overwhelming and it makes me proud to be an American. I truly appreciate the effort of these volunteers. ”

On Friday evening, the Governor and First Lady attended a rally in College Park Maryland for Wreaths Across America volunteers. The rally was held at Moose Lodge to welcome everyone and thank them for their time. “It’s an honor to be here with so many great people from across the country who are remembering and honoring America’s heroes,” Governor LePage said. “The Wreaths Across America mission says it all. Remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach our children the value of freedom,” he added.

For many years the Arlington project, had been the quiet mission of Morrill Worcester and his family. In 2006, internet stories fueled attention for his annual quest, and Worcester was contacted by the Patriot Guard Riders who generously offered their help with the project. Since then the Patriot Guard Riders have escorted the wreath trucks down the East Coast and taking several days to make the trip. This allows stops at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities, and gives the group an opportunity to promote their mission: Remember-Honor and Teach. This “parade” of truckers, supporters, and well-wishers has become an annual event and teaching opportunity for Wreaths Across America, and a valued part of the Arlington Project.

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