WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Holiday wreaths were placed in remembrance at 105 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries Dec. 14, as part of a privately-funded program to honor the nation's veterans.
The evergreen wreaths with red ribbons were made by the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. Company president Morrill Worcester donated and distributed the wreaths nationwide to recognize veterans, military members and their families, and to teach children the value of freedom.
"This heartfelt gesture of honoring our nation's veterans during the holidays is a tangible reminder of just how much Americans appreciate the service and sacrifices of our heroes," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson.
It is the first year of "Wreaths Across America," Worcester's project to decorate veterans' graves nationwide. For the last 15 years, he has sent wreaths in December to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. This year, the company shipped 5,000 wreaths there to be placed on graves by Air Patrol volunteers.
Six wreaths were placed at the flagpole in each VA national cemetery, one for each of the military service branches and one to honor former prisoners of war and troops missing-in-action. Wreaths were also placed at 89 state veterans cemeteries. At many of the cemeteries, they were placed by members of the Civil Air Patrol.
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