Tag Archives: Wreaths Across America

Mission Matters Newsletter: What Is Your Why?

A newsletter from the Wreaths Across America organization.


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Dear Michael Barbour,

 

What is Your Why?

 

Here at Wreaths Across America headquarters the cool Maine air signals the end of summer as well as the end of a very busy September.

 

It has been an emotional and educational few weeks as we have spent time with and learned the stories of many who have lived lives of service to our Country. From our September 11 flag waving memorial, a 12-hour iHeart radiothon, the Women in Military Roundtable Discussion on Wreaths Radio, an educational summit with Law Enforcement Officers, to the dedication of the Military Women’s Memorial Grove on the tiplands this past Monday, I have been inspired by the examples set by so many women and men.

 

It has become a custom at our events to ask those who participate “what is your why?”

Without exception, each time we carry out this exercise and one-by-one, each participant gives their testimony, there are tears, compassion and a strengthened bond within our extended WAA family.

 

My own why grows bigger with each passing month, and new person I meet. It grew this month as I had the honor to sit next to one of my own heroes, Medal of Honor Recipient Roger Donlon and his amazing wife, Norma, at a Medal of Honor Society event in Boston on 9/11. Together,  we watched Medal of Honor Recipient Leroy Petry – whose service in Afghanistan earned him his Medal – struggle to speak of the 13 men and women who our Country just lost.

 

It grew during our Law Enforcement Officer Summit as a military veteran and Officer embraced me and cried as he continues to work through his PTSD. Then again at the Grove dedication, as I listened to a 98 year-old WWII Navy Nurse recall her service with pride and end by stating she’d be proud to go again if she could. All these amazing people, continue to fuel my why.

 

I recently read a quote, “If American children are not taught the principles of freedom, America will not be free for long.” For me, truer words have never been spoken, and this fear is also part of my why.

 

Finally, to all of the devoted Wreaths Across America volunteers and supporters, it is your passion and commitment that allows us collectively, to carry out this important mission…YOU are my why… and I thank you.

 

With gratitude,

Karen Worcester

REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

Medal of Honor Recipient Roger Donlon’s Shares His Why

Recently, Wreaths Across America had the honor and privilege to sit down with Medal of Honor Recipient Roger Donlon and his wife Norma, a Gold Star Wife, at their home in Kansas, and ask – what is your why?

The following video shares their answer and is a message that every American should take the less-than three minutes to watch, listen, learn, and share.

Wreaths Across America with MOH recipient Roger Donlon on service and character.

“Do your part, young men and women, stand up to the challenge, be brave.” 

– Col. Roger Donlon, U.S. Army (Ret.), first Medal of Honor Recipient from the Vietnam War

Dedication of the Military Women’s Memorial Grove

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021  Jonesboro, Maine, USA

“Let the generations know that women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom. That our resolve was just as great as the brave men who stood among us. And with victory, our hearts were just as full and beat just as fast – that the tears fell just as hard for those we left behind.”

– 1LT Anne Sosh Brehm, US Army Nurse Corps, World War II China Burma India Theatre

On Monday, Wreaths Across America, as part of its Veterans’ Remembrance Tree Program, in partnership with the Military Women’s Memorial Foundation, dedicated the Military Women’s Grove on the balsam tip lands in Maine. The balsam fir trees in this Grove will now hold the replica dog tags of thousands of America’s military women, in honor and memory of all women who have served our nation – past and present.

Tune In to Wreaths Across America Radio – A Voice for America’s Veterans! 

Tune in on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 10 am to hear a special ‘Mission Matters’ featuring the ceremony from the dedication of the Military Women’s Grove, followed by a replay of the last RoundTable on Veterans’ Healing focused on Women in the Military.

 

The two episodes will be replayed that evening at 6 and 7 pm ET.

Featured Merchandise

VIBE Speaker Tumbler – take the mission with you wherever you go, while tuning in to Wreaths Across America Radio!

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What Are You Interested In?

Wreaths Across America Day 2021 is less than 100 days away! Looking for ways to support the mission this year? Select an option below.

Donate Transportation
Sponsor Wreath(s)
Offer Corporate Support

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America official channels on social media for the most up-to-the-minute news on the mission:

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Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504

Mission Matters Newsletter: More Than Ever, We Need To Live Up To Their Legacy.

A newsletter from this national organization that the branch has tried to be involved with.


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The last couple weeks have been difficult as we watch the events in Afghanistan unfolding on the news. It is nothing less than heart wrenching, not only for those who are struggling to get out safely, but for those who have served and lost comrades during the War on Terror, and the Gold Star and Blue Star Families, whose loved ones have sacrificed.

Wreaths Across America staff has fielded many calls and had subsequent discussions on how we might be able to help. We are fortunate to have Joe Reagan as our Director of Military and Veteran Outreach. Joe is an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and who also has experience working with organizations that provide veteran’s services including for those with PTSD. As he works through his own feelings about what is happening, he has actively been sharing resources for those who may be struggling, as well as helping us and others try to comprehend the emotional strain on our veterans through his own experience and open, honest dialog.

Below, you will find a link to read the words Joe so eloquently shared about what he and other veterans are going through. And importantly, a message of hope.

The coming days and weeks will be filled with pundits and conflicting opinions. Undoubtedly, there are many things that can be argued. However, our hope at Wreaths Across America is to find that point where we can agree and build on it. For me, that common ground is the appreciation for the unwavering courage and commitment of those who serve in our military.

In a few days we will mark the 20th Anniversary of 9-11, a day that changed us forever. But as that day ended and the dawn of 9-12 broke, we raised our flag, gathered our families, came together and focused on protecting and proclaiming the strength and goodness of America.

This is a defining moment in history. Let’s join together in raising and saluting our flag in honor of those who have served and sacrificed. In remembering them, honoring their families and their commitment to stand for freedom, we find the opportunity to teach.

On their behalf we stay America Strong, America Proud and strive to be America United.

Remember. Honor. Teach.

With gratitude,
Karen Worcester

REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

More than ever, we need to live up to their legacy.

“To the brave men and women who volunteered and to your families, and to the families of the fallen. The sacrifices you made – and your families made – were not in vain. What we are witnessing today is not our failure, this is not our burden to bear. Having had the privilege of serving alongside so many amazing Americans (and allied Service Members as well), quite frankly I’m tremendously proud of what you were able to accomplish, and I hope you are too. The fact is you carried more than your fair share – and you are stronger because of it.”

Join Us in National Flag Waving in Remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of September 11th

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Wreaths Across America urges all Americans to join together on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, to wave the American flag in remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of September 11th.

 

The event will be hosted LIVE on its official Facebook page and broadcast over Wreaths Across America Radio. It will include Gold Star Families, whose loved ones answered the call to serve after 9/11, Veterans, and First Responders and their families.

Now more than ever, it is so important that we come together as Americans to show support for those whose service, courage, and sacrifice, help keep America free!

Tune In to Wreaths Across America Radio – A Voice for America’s Veterans!

Today, Wednesday, August 25th, at 10 am and 7 pm ET tune in to hear a special Mission Matters with Executive Director Karen Worcester and Director of Military & Veteran Outreach Joe Reagan.

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In Case you Missed It: Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 Memorial – UPDATE!

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On Friday, Aug. 20, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (Mich) introduced a new bill to allow American servicemen onboard Flying Tiger Line 739, who lost their lives on their way to Vietnam during the early days of the crisis, to finally have their names placed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

Earlier this year, Wreaths Across America, in partnership with its Founder Morrill Worcester, who donated the land and materials, unveiled a memorial to those aboard Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 in hopes of helping provide some closure to their families. The media coverage about this far surpassed expectations, with more than a thousand articles published about the soldiers on board and crew. We’re proud to have played a small part in this movement to recognize the sacrifice of these families, watch the tribute from our recent event by clicking the button below.

Featured Merchandise

30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag – Wreath Sponsorship Combo

 

Discover the inspiring story of the American flag that flew over Ground Zero, traveled across all fifty states as it was repaired, and returned to New York as a restored symbol of unity in this meaningful children’s book. Each purchase includes a wreath sponsorship.

30,000 Stitches Cover

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America official channels on social media for the most up-to-the-minute news on the mission:

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Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504

Mission Matters Newsletter: Award Recipients Announced!

An item from the Wreaths Across America organization.


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As I’m writing today I am doing so coming off an emotion-filled few days. Wreaths Across America’s Stem to Stone Weekend is designed to help our volunteers fully understand the mission. Each year, as the event plays out, the team here at WAA learns as much as we teach. All of our volunteers have their own “WHY” but as we spend precious hours together, we are bonded by our love of Country, community and each other.

Many of our dedicated volunteers who participated in the event took the time to share stories of the effort taking place in their towns and cities to rally around and support the mission. Everybody truly plays a part (WAA theme in 2019). We heard many examples of people carrying out selfless acts to involve whole towns in honoring the sacrifice of our veterans. People being Americans Worth Fighting For (WAA theme in 2020).

 

And most importantly we heard how their yearlong process of having a WAA event brings kids and veterans together to teach courage and character and the importance of “Living up to their legacy” (WAA theme for 2021). The testimonies of these people and other giving-Americans have inspired our themes in the past, as they have our soon-to-be-announced theme for 2022.

Although WAA is most known for placing wreaths on veterans graves during the holidays, our year-round mission is an opportunity for communities to come together to reconnect and share the comfort that that brings. Common ground is found in our respect and love for those who fought for our freedom. Common ground strengthens communities.

I came away from the weekend’s events hopeful and excited as I worked with people from all over the country gathered to reboot our commitment to share the stories of heroes from generations before with our children.

 

Patriotism begins at home, then reaches to community and Country. Without the passion of our dedicated volunteers — two million strong — we could not carry out our mission. Our mission, which brings communities together with a common goal.

 

With gratitude,

Karen Worcester

REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

Wreaths Across America’s Award Winners

Bennett Family of Companies
PenFed

This weekend, at its annual Stem to Stone event in Maine, Wreaths Across America recognized three well deserving award recipients including:

To read more, click on an award recipient’s name above or find all of our recent winner announcements by clicking on the button below.

Wreaths Across America Radio

If you miss a little, you miss a lot! Tune in to Wreaths Across America Radio today!

 

You can listen on our website here or through iHeart Radio by clicking on the button below.

waa radio program

Featured Merchandise

2021 WAA Challenge Coin

Wreaths Across America’s 2021 Theme Challenge Coins Now Available!

 

Challenge Coins are a military tradition.

 

Live Up To Their Legacy.

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America official channels on social media for the most up-to-the-minute news on the mission:

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Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504

Mission Matters Newsletter: Do Good Twice with Giving In July!

A newsletter from the Wreaths Across America organization.


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Dear Michael Barbour,

 

Time is flying by and we’re all looking forward to July with its picnics, parades and patriotism on display. For WAA, July offers an opportunity to highlight one of our long-standing beliefs that we can best further our mission by working with other like-minded organizations.

I am often heard saying “it would be disingenuous to say that we remember, honor and teach and not support others that do the same.” To that end, we choose the month of July — often dedicated to the commercial promotion of ‘Christmas in July’ — and call attention to the efforts of other nonprofits doing good work in their communities.

WAA is so proud of the work done year round by our volunteers. It is not lost on us that their passion is often fueled by personal life experiences and often tragedy. That said, in their commitment to “make a difference for the good” lies the best promise of the continued greatness of this Country.

The greatness of this Country I believe is in the hearts of its people. That greatness is found in those who have laid down their lives for freedom, those who go above and beyond to hold communities together and even those who do a simple act of kindness. It is truly a mark of character and integrity to take personal loss and pain and turn it into a commitment to help others. The character of the American people is inherently good.

So, it is appropriate that we take this opportunity to promote “Giving in July.” Every month, we commit to sharing the stories of Americans in action that make us who we are. Those stories are the foundation laid for the future we build for our children.

Have a Happy July. Embrace your freedom and family and stay, America Strong and America Proud.

 

With gratitude,

Karen Worcester

REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

“People Always” – Breaking Stigma on National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Injury Awareness Day

Joe Reagan is Wreaths Across America’s newest team member, recently joining the staff as the Director, Military & Veteran Outreach. Joe has over 10 years of experience working with leaders within Government, non-profit, and Fortune 500 companies to develop sustainable strategies supporting National Security, and Veterans Health. He served 8 years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army including two tours to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division.

 

We are grateful for his and his family’s service, his commitment to helping veterans and their families, and for joining the mission to REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

 

Following, Joe shares a personal story with his experiences with PTSD. This will also be the topic for this Thursday’s second Wreaths Across America Roundtable on Veteran Healing. We encourage you to tune in at 7pm ET to learn more.

 

June 27th is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Injury Awareness Day. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness around the signs, symptoms, and stigma, associated with PTSD. As a former Infantry Officer with two deployments to Afghanistan this issue is deeply personal to me. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reported that somewhere between 10-15 percent of Veterans have a clinical diagnosis for post-traumatic stress. That number is likely far greater. A recent survey suggests that over a quarter of our population believes PTSD is incurable and those who have it are dangerous and mentally unstable – it is for this reason that so many Veterans refuse to seek help. 22 Veterans will take their own life today, two thirds of them will have never stepped foot inside a VA facility – 15 Veterans will die today without ever asking for help…

Wreaths Across America Radio RoundTable on Veteran Healing

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Roundtable

This live discussion will take place tonight—Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 7PM EST—and can be heard exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio.

The discussion will focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and will look to recognize the scope of this trauma and how to turn it into purpose.

 

Panelists will be interviewed by Wreaths Across America’s Executive Director Karen Worcester and Director of Military & Veteran Outreach Joe Reagan, United States Army Capt. (ret).

 

Panelists:

Amy Looney serves as Vice President of Travis Manion Foundation, and leads a national movement focused on empowering veterans and families of the fallen to foster the next generation of leaders in the mission to unite communities to strengthen America’s national character. As a Gold Star Wife – her late husband, LT (SEAL) Brendan Looney was killed in Afghanistan on September 21, 2010, and awarded the Bronze Star with Valor – Amy has served as an inspirational champion for families of fallen service members, military families, veterans, and American troops.

 

Also joining the discussion from the Travis Manion Foundation is Josh Jabin, who serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, responsible for leading staff and developing strategy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 and served twelve years active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2013 and eight years in the Marine Corps Reserves.

 

Dr. Nicholas (Nick) Polizzi is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Acting Psychological Health Promotion Branch Chief and Government Action Officer for the inTransition program and the Real Warriors Campaign at the Defense Health Agency’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE).

RSVP on Facebook

Featured Merchandise

July is the perfect time of year to start thinking about the holiday season, and this year’s themed ornament makes the perfect gift!

 

Additionally, show your American Pride with an #AmericaStrong yard sign!

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America official channels on social media for the most up-to-the-minute news on the mission:

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Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504

Mission Matters Newsletter: friend of Wreaths Across America – Win and Send 100 Wreaths to the Location of Your Choice!

A newsletter from the Wreaths Across America organization.


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Dear friend of Wreaths Across America,

 

It’s not enough to remember…

 

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is an American holiday specifically designated for all to REMEMBER those who died in service to our Country. This weekend will be filled with wonderful patriotic parades, rides, runs, picnics and concerts as we Honor and Remember collectively the ultimate sacrifice of generations of American heroes.

 

At Wreaths Across America, our mission statement reflects our commitment to do exactly what Memorial Day is set aside to do, year round.

 

Over the years, we’ve learned how important it is to the future generation to not only remember those that served and “gave all” but to know them. To that end, our volunteers work every day to share the stories of those who served and sacrificed. And not only the account of how they died, but their lives.

 

As Gold Star Families open up about the lives of their sons, daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, we discover that many of them possessed early on in their lives the characteristics of heroes. Men and women who served so selflessly, inspire us with their character and examples of leadership, altruism, compassion, and courage. They instill in us pride in our Country and stir in us a desire to be more like them in our daily lives.

 

Their collective legacy is our freedom. Our Country was built on their courage, character and sacrifice. Their heritage is our heritage.

 

We often say at Wreaths Across America that a person dies twice. The first time when they stop breathing and life leaves their body; the second and final time, when their name is spoken for the last time.

 

This Memorial Day, and every day, we will continue to say names, share stories and remind all that their sacrifice was made to ensure our freedoms.

 

With gratitude,

Karen Worcester

REMEMBER. HONOR. TEACH.

Give the Gift of Remembrance this Memorial Day!

With every $15 veteran’s wreath sponsorship, you have the opportunity to dedicate it “In Memory Of” a loved one who served. In addition to placing the wreaths each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, Wreaths Across America hosts a virtual “Remember Wall” for each participating location. You can post photos, memories and personal messages on these pages as a year-round display of remembrance for your loved ones.

 

If you’d like to participate, start your sponsorship here or search for the Wreaths Across America Sponsorship Group and/or a Participating Location you wish to support.

Remember Wall

Through Memorial Day, any Remembrance Wall posts made will be entered into a drawing for 10 random winners to send 100 veterans’ wreaths to the participating location of their choice!

Remembering Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

Flying Tiger Line Flight Monument

On Saturday, May 15, Wreaths Across America in partnership with the Worcester Family, unveiled a monument memorializing the soldiers and crew aboard Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 that disappeared without a trace on March 16, 1962.

 

For nearly 60 years, the families of the men and women on board this flight have waited for answers, and just as important, they’ve waited to see their loved ones Remembered and Honored with their names in stone.

 

Stories of this fateful flight as told by loved ones of those lost have now reached all corners of the United States. Our hope is that the names of the 93 Army Soldiers and 11 flight crew members (many of whom were veterans themselves) are continued to be said out loud and their stories be told.

 

Read the list of names of those onboard Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 here.

Wreaths Across America Radio

A Voice for America’s Veterans

 

Save the Date – Thursday, June 24 at 7 pm EDT: Wreaths Radio’s second in a series of four LIVE RoundTable discussions focused on Veteran Healing.

 

Wreaths Across America Radio Now Streaming on iHeartRadio! Download the app for free and listen live, from anywhere!

Featured Merchandise

We just released two new merchandise items that you can purchase to showcase your support of Wreaths Across America!

 

Check out our 2021 Theme Design lapel pin and our oatmeal navy hoodie.

Legacy Pin

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America official channels on social media for the most up-to-the-minute news on the mission:

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LinkedIn
Twitter
Instagram

Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504