Honoring our Fallen at Arlington National Cemetery

 marylou wade arlington cemeteryThe Wreaths Across America (WAA) story began over 19 years ago when Merrill Worcester began a tradition of placing wreaths during the holidays on the graves of our nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC).

Last December [2009] 161,000 wreaths were donated to not only Arlington and veteran cemeteries across the nation and world. The WAA mission is:  Remember the fallen; Honor those who serve; Teach our children the value of freedom.

For the third year I was honored lay wreaths at Arlington. Last year over 6,000 volunteers placed approximately 16,000 wreaths at Arlington. My brother Captain Herbert C. Crosby, US Army, is buried there. He was Missing in Action, Vietnam, January 10, 1970. Over 37 years later his remains were officially identified, and he was buried with full military honors on May 25, 2007.  I laid a wreath on his grave also.

I’ve met many wonderful families, veterans, patriotic citizens and have made new acquaintances each year. Many of them are repeat volunteers. This year I met the former President of the Maine Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was dressed in revolutionary war uniform and traveled with the caravan of trucks from Maine to Washington, stopping in small towns along the way, while more biker patriots join the caravan as escorts.
I felt overwhelming humility while walking the hallowed cemetery ground, placing a wreath, saying a prayer, and honoring our fallen defenders of liberty. It is an experience I will never forget. Tears of joy, love and loss all in the same moment. It was priceless.
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