“Our mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “Thousands of CAP members participate each year to help us do just that; and, with CAP’s help, this project has continued to see remarkable growth.”
This year, in tribute to the 25 million men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces — guarding and preserving America’s freedom throughout history — wreaths from Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, will be placed on 325,000 veterans’ graves at more than 700 cemetery or memorial sites in all 50 states, as well as 20 foreign locations. Civil Air Patrol is a fundraiser for Wreaths Across America, and its members also lead or participate, often with color and honor guards, in many of the ceremonies at cemeteries and war memorials.
Missouri Wing CAP units in Kansas City, Malden, Springfield, St. Louis, Webb City, and Wentzville will place wreaths in those cities. There are a total of twenty one veterans’ cemeteries or sites across the state participating in this year’s event. Lt. Col. David A. Miller, Missouri Wing CAP director of public affairs, will officiate the ceremony at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Wreaths Across America culminates on Dec. 15 with thousands of wreaths placed on gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery and numerous ceremonies held at many of Arlington’s memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknowns. Several other ceremonies will be held later that day, including one at war memorials along the National Mall. Simultaneous ceremonies will be held throughout the day at veterans’ cemeteries and memorials nationwide and abroad.
“Each year, we look forward to the opportunities provided by Wreaths Across America,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Charles L. Carr Jr. “Laying wreaths is an honor to our veterans, a service to our communities and a learning experience for our cadets and officers.”
Twenty years ago, Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Co. donated the first wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, starting an annual tradition that continues today as Wreaths Across America. The initiative began in 2006 as an offshoot of Worcester’s Arlington National Cemetery wreath project. Since its inception seven years ago, Wreaths Across America has experienced tremendous growth. Visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org for more information about Wreaths Across America and participating locations.
The Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is composed of over 1,000 members organized in almost forty squadrons located throughout the state.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years.