VFW auxiliary supports Wreaths Across America

Alice Robinson, assistant chairwoman of the Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 holds two leaves of the wreath [decorated by Spruce Mountain Elementary School students] on Nov. 8 when the election was taking place at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Robinson is a local resident and has chosen Wreaths Across America as her project chair. She gave Jay’s school 30 copies of the coloring page but 191 colorful wreaths each with a thank you note. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY – Alice Robinson, Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 co-chair has chosen Wreaths Across America as her mission, with several accomplishments already.

Robinson gave Spruce Mountain Elementary School 30 copies of wreaths for veteran students to decorate and write words of thanks to the veteran. In the interview on Nov. 8, Robinson said he collected the last 191 pages. That Thursday, Robinson arranged to take the leaves to the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta to give to veterans there.

The veteran’s wreath used in the Wreaths Across America program is a symbol of honor, respect and achievement, Robinson said. According to a document from Wreaths Across America Robinson shared with teachers and the Livermore Falls Advertiser, 10 balsam flowers make up a wreath for each soldier that represents 10 unique qualities they possess:

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• Their belief in the greater good

• Their love for each other

• Their strengths, their work style, and their culture

• Their honesty and integrity

• Their humility, self-love and modesty

• Their wishes and desires

• Their hope in America

• Worrying about their future

• Take pride in their work

• Their hopes and dreams were not always fulfilled, but they left them with no regrets

The evergreens in the wreath represent longevity and endurance, the red bow the great sacrifice, the fragrance of the forest purity and simplicity, and the shape of eternity.

Wreaths Across America was founded by Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington. In 1992 his company had more wreaths. Remembering the trip he made to Arlington National Cemetery as a young man, with the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe arranged to lay a wreath in the old part of the cemetery where the number of visitors was dwindling.

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Worcester continued to place wreaths each year at the cemetery. In 2005 a photo of a wreath-covered grave covered in snow was published on the Internet, making the project famous. Many people who wanted to continue this work in their countries asked to continue this work.

In 2006 the Patriot Guard Riders volunteered to escort the wreaths to Arlington and the annual Veterans Honor Parade that travels up the east coast each December began. In 2007 the Worcester family and others formed Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Remember. Honor. Educate.”

“In 2010, people placed 220,000 wreaths at 545 locations,” Robinson said. “Wreath-laying takes place every year on the second or third Saturday of December. This year the annual parade from Harrington to Arlington National Cemetery will begin on Dec. 17.”

Robinson said the charity collected $491 – from AMVETS, Otis Federal Credit Union, VFW, and others – which will buy 48 wreaths. “Of those, 24 will go to Arlington National Cemetery and 24 will go to our cemetery where there are 670 military graves.”

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One wreath can be purchased for $15 while two cost $30 and one is given away for free, Robinson said. “We hope to make more money to buy more wreaths next year,” he said.

Robinson’s husband, son and grandson were all in the military. “I am proud to be a part of the charity and work to support veterans,” he added.

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