Wreaths Across America to stop in Old Orchard Beach, Kittery on Monday
OLD ORCHARD BEACH (WGME) -- The Wreaths Across America convoy is making its way through Maine for its annual journey to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Old Orchard Beach was the first stop on Monday for the convoy. The week-long journey started in Lubec with plenty of stops in between.
The mission wouldn't be alive today without the Worcester family.
“I had 5,000 wreaths left over and I didn't know what I was going to do with them,” Wreaths Across America Founder Morrill Worcester said.
Morrill said he used to say this happened by mistake.
"I said, ‘Wouldn't it be something to place the wreaths on those graves.’ It became a reality and that was a beginning,” Morrill said.
So now 600 trucks from 1,600 locations across the country are bringing wreaths for veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
There are 12 truckloads of wreaths from Maine loaded up with 60,000 wreaths.
"Almost 90 percent of the wreaths that we place are specific gifts for family members that want us to go, our volunteers say their name and lay the wreaths and it's all about getting in touch with our heritage and history,” Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester said.
Monday’s stop to Old Orchard Beach meant a lot to Nancy Lee-Kelley, the mother of Christopher Scott Cash, a veteran who died 14 years ago.
"I'm just Christopher's mom. He's the hero and all of veterans whether they served one day or many, many years, they put their life on the line to defend our nation,” Lee-Kelley said.
It’s a journey to honor all veterans and a goal that is clear each stop along the way.
"There are 28 million veterans that are now laid to rest. We want every single one of them to never be forgotten. We say their name out loud so they never die,” Morrill said.
The convoy will arrive at the Pentagon on Friday, but will be making several more special stops like the one at Jameson School in Old Orchard Beach along the way.