For the last 30 years, the Worcester family of Harrington, Maine, has led a mission to honor fallen veterans each holiday season by laying wreaths on gravestones across the nation. What started as a small family venture, aided by a local trucking company and a handful of members from their community, has now grown into a nationwide event taking place annually on Wreaths Across America Day.  


This year, millions of volunteers from across the United States dedicated their time on December 16th to honor over three million veterans under this year’s theme of “Serve and Succeed.” Taking place at local, state, and national cemeteries in all 50 states, with over 4,225 participating locations, Wreaths Across America has become a powerful symbol of this country’s deep respect and appreciation of each and every fallen soldier.  


Keep reading to learn all you need to know about Wreaths Across America, how truckers and their loved ones have played an essential role in supporting this growing tradition nationwide, and what you can do to get involved in next year’s ceremony.  


A Timeless Mission Becomes Tradition  

Although the Worcester family first began their efforts to honor fallen soldiers in the Arlington National Cemetery in 1992, it wasn’t until over a decade later, in 2005, that this small project of compassion and respect caught on at a national level.  


After photos of the wreaths at the Arlington Cemetery went viral in 2005, the Worcester family’s efforts quickly grew until the nonprofit Wreaths Across America was founded in 2007. With the simple mission of “Remember, honor, and teach,” the movement placed over 100,000 wreaths, helped by over 60,000 volunteers, the following year.  


Since then, the organization has grown exponentially. Each year, on the Congress-recognized National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers, donors, and truckers make it possible to honor these brave women and men by carrying out the Worcester family’s original mission. 


Drive My Way employee Casey Fletcher’s family spent this year helping out at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at a local veterans home.

The Importance of Truckers  

Truck drivers have been an essential part of the Wreaths Across America mission since the first event in 1992, when the Worcester family was aided by James Prout, owner of local Maine trucking company Blue Bird Ranch, Inc. Prout helped transport all of the wreaths that year to the Arlington cemetery, a role that hundreds of thousands of truckers have now carried on every year since.  


These CDL drivers and transportation companies are responsible for carrying millions of wreaths to each participating location across the country as part of Wreaths Across America’s “Honor Fleet.” Truckers also play a large role in the “world’s largest veteran parade” that happens each year to honor the first trip the Worcester family took in 1992 from Harrington, Maine, to the Arlington National Cemetery.  


Now, a procession of truck drivers, local law enforcement, WAA staff, and volunteers make the journey annually on Wreaths Across America day, while stopping at schools, monuments, and veterans’ homes and communities along the way to talk about the Wreaths Across America mission and the importance of honoring the sacrifice made by every fallen soldier.  


For many truckers, the mission of WAA is also especially personal. With over 25% of veterans pursing a career in truck driving, CDL drivers across the nation go above and beyond to make sure this tradition continues each year.  


At many carriers, it’s common to find drivers who are devoted to veteran affairs year round. NFI Industries employee Jason W. has been involved with Wreaths Across America for the past 3 years, and has made it a goal to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery.  

“It’s things like this that I’m humbled and honored to do,” said Jason W. “It reminds me that even with all the chaos that’s going on in our country right, there are truly people that still care, and our service to our country wasn’t done in vain.”  

How To Get Involved 

Does this sound like the sort of mission you’d love to be a part of? There are many ways to be involved with Wreaths Across America, whether as a volunteer, a trucker, or a donor. Mark your calendars if you’d like to participate in next year’s Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, December 14, 2024. 

The wreath-laying is usually just one part of a moving ceremony of celebration, acknowledgement, and respect.


If you’re interested in supporting transportation, WAA makes it easy for you to sign up to haul a truckload of wreaths in next year’s ceremony. For those looking to volunteer by placing wreaths on site, you can simply register in advance to find out the next steps. If volunteering your time or truck isn’t possible, but you still are interested in supporting the Wreaths Across America mission, consider donating to sponsor a wreath or help out with transportation costs.  


Wreaths Across America also continues to grow each year. If you know a fallen soldier you’d like recognized, or there’s a memorial cemetery that still hasn’t made the WAA list, please reach out to someone on the sponsorship team