Honor and Balsam: Wreaths Across America
Remembering the sacrifices veterans gave to our nation
Nestled in the tiny old seafaring New England village of Columbia Falls, Maine, lies a forest of over 5,000 acres of Balsam fir trees.
The idea for Wreaths Across America (WAA) started in 1992 when Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, found his company with a large surplus of wreaths near the end of the holiday season. Worcester looked back on a childhood memory as a 12-year-old boy working a paper route for the Bangor Daily News. He had won a trip to Washington, D.C. It would be his first visit to our nation's capital and it would leave a profound impact on Worcester decades later.
"I didn't want to throw them away, they were nice and fresh so I thought about Arlington, because of the impact it had on me as a boy," said Morrill, as he looked out onto the spread of trees used to make hundreds of thousands of wreaths each year.
With the help of then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, Worcester was able to make arrangements to have the surplus wreaths placed at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. They were placed in an older section of the cemetery, one that received less and less visitors every year.