Wreaths Across America announces Arlington escort schedule

ELLSWORTH — The Wreaths Across America escort of handmade balsam wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery from Maine has become known as the country’s longest veterans parade.

This year, the weeklong journey kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 9. The grand marshals — Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient Col. Roger Donlon, U.S. Army Special Forces (retired) and his wife, Norma, a Vietnam era Gold Star wife — will lead the caravan as it travels down the East Coast, stopping at schools, memorials and other locations along the way.

The escort is scheduled to make stops in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C., before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 16 — National Wreaths Across America Day.

Escort participants include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and the Wreaths Across America extended family.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder will flank the escort along with law enforcement from Maine to ensure safe transport for all participants throughout the week.

Eleven tractor-trailers representing several companies will haul a portion of the 245,700 sponsored wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery for placement on Dec. 16.

What began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992, has become a national mission more than 25 years later to remember, honor and teach.

Wreath sponsorships for all participating cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, are needed and will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 27. Sponsorships can be purchased for $15 at

To view the complete escort schedule, visit

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