UAW honors vets with Wreaths across America

By Cecelia Davis

Blistering cold winds swept through the field of honor hill as members of UAW Local 249 stood tall with pride and gratitude while documenting such an honorable event called, “Wreaths across America.”

On December 18, the Motorcycle Committee teamed up with our Veteran’s Committee to celebrate an annual event to honor the fallen U.S veterans. The chairpeople of these committees had contacted this organization to be a part of a beautiful wreath laying ceremony which originated in Arlington National Cemetery.

Wreaths across America was founded by Morrill Worcester and his wife Karen. Worcester owned a wreath company and on year they found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holidays. Remembering back to a time he won a trip to our nation’s capital as a young boy, the Arlington National Cemetery made a permanent impression on his young heart that he has carried with him as a successful adult. He realized that now as an adult, he had an opportunity to not only prevent waste in his business but to fulfill that childhood memory by honoring our country’s veterans.

As plans were set, other organizations and individuals caught wind of such a righteous act, and they too were eager to be involved. This small admirable act for our fallen veterans went on quietly for many years until a beautiful picture of the perfectly shaped circular evergreen wreaths, with a crisp red bow – representing great sacrifice – was lightly dusted with the fresh December snow, placed perfectly above one of the many headstones of our beloved veterans resting spot and become an internet sensation around the US. Not only does the wreath look beautiful, but each balsam bouquet wreath also symbolizes 10 special qualities that our veterans embody. First quality is their belief in a greater good, their love for each other, their strength, work ethic, and character.

Their honesty and integrity, their humility, selflessness, and modesty. Their ambitions and aspirations, their optimism for America, their concern for the future, their pride in their duties and lastly their hopes and dreams that didn’t always come true but left them with no regrets. A lot of these qualities can be found not only in the veterans but within our very own Local 249 union members that we call family. The wreaths were specially placed on each headstone by a presenter who had served or is currently active, who then states the fallen soldier’s name, gives a moment of silence, and then salutes the fellow service member. Wreath across America’s main mission is to remember and honor our veterans and to teach the next generation to do the same.

“Wreaths across America is a display of love and respect every December,” said Joshua Curtis, the chairperson for the Motorcycle committee. “Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,500 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. I feel honored and humbled all at once. It’s humbling to know these soldiers helped fight for the freedoms we have! It’s also an honor to know we’re showing respect and placing a wreath on their graves as well. Seeing many standing committees, the last few years show the community and others that their neighbors, friends, and others take pride in giving back to the community and their peers that came before them.”

Although we have Memorial Day and Veterans Day to remember our fallen soldiers, we shall never forget such noble acts that they have come to sacrifice for our country all year long. No weather can stop such an incredible ceremony because our veterans never stopped for us.

“December 17, 2022, will be the next Wreaths across America, so please come out and stand with us and honor those on this special day. Extremely family friendly and humbling for all,” added Joshua. If you would like to be included in this event that our union has been a part of for 5 years now, let a standing committee member know and join us next year!

“Remember our fallen U.S. veterans. Honor those who serve. Teach your children the value of freedom.”