The Sarasota Wreaths Across America Story (www.wreathceremony.com)
Groundbreaking and dedication of the 295 acre site at the Sarasota National Cemetery was held on June 1, 2008 and the first interment was on January 9, 2009. Being the sixth national cemetery in Florida its expected to hold over ten burials per day for the next ten years. For the last several years the community, Sarasota Military Academy Cadets, various veterans groups, non-profits, schools, and the public have worked very hard to meet the goal of having a wreath to lay at each and every grave site in the cemetery. With the help of community volunteers and a central focus at www.waasarasota.com, goal was reached for the 1st time of placing a wreath at over 5,400 grave sites in 2012. In 2013, we reached goal for the 2nd year sponsoring 6,800 wreaths. In 2014, goal was reached for the 3rd third year in a row sponsoring over 8,000 wreaths. In 2015, we reached goal for the 4th year in a row sponsoring over 10,000 wreaths. And once again in 2016, we reached goal of 10,750 wreaths for the 5th year in a row. In 2017, goal is 12,600 wreaths.
The Wreaths Across America Story (www.wreathsacrossamerica.org)
Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.
In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.