Wreaths Across America 2010 - Fayetteville National Cemetery in ...The Air Force still pulsates through Murray Morgan’s veins, though he retired from the military years ago.

The 14-year Air Force Special Forces veteran exudes a military pride that matches the love of country he felt as a boy growing up in post-World War II America.

“America was the light of the world then, and its values were deeply instilled in me,” Morgan says.

Morgan took America’s light and used it to illuminate his own experience, saving lives at home and abroad through Air and Sea rescue. When he retired from the military in 1971, he had no idea he’d be able to serve again, and so meaningfully, through his CDL driver job.

But that’s exactly what happened. Morgan has held a CDL driver job at Halvor Lines for the last 16 years. Three years ago, Halvor Lines’ president asked Morgan if he wouldn’t mind driving for an important initiative called Wreaths Across America.

Arlington National Cemetery | Flickr - Photo Sharing!The annual volunteer effort places wreaths at the graves of military veterans every December. They do it in every military cemetery in the country.

Morgan says Wreaths Across America is unlike any other veteran service. “There are a lot of veteran causes, but this is a recognition that’s far and away different,” he says. “All the others are asking for help for veterans, but this is a showing of respect for veterans.”

The wreaths attached to the front of participating trucks are instantly understood by people along the Wreaths Across America route, and motorists are quick to show their support. “When we pass people on the streets, people all say ‘thank you,’” Morgan recalls. ”They don’t say ‘hello,’ they say ‘thank you.’”

For Morgan, whose values are entrenched in his own military service, driving a truckload of wreaths from Maine down the coast to Arlington National Cemetery is special. “It goes in the top five experiences of my life, and I’ve been living a long time,” Morgan says.

The rawness of his first Wreaths Across America journey made him ache. As Morgan peered through his windshield at the traffic ahead, his mind was on his fallen comrades who are buried in Arlington National and other military cemeteries. The tears rolled down his cheeks for nearly an hour.

Morgan typically has a way with words. He’s an author who just released his first book. But on that day, he had no words for what he was feeling.

When he arrived at Arlington National Cemetery for the first time, Morgan was given a wreath to place at the grave of a Civil War soldier. He held the wreath loosely in his hands, unsure of what he’d do. Instinctively, he walked up to the grave and knelt down.

CDL trucker honors veteransHe placed the wreath on the tombstone, said a prayer for the survivors of the soldier, stood up and saluted.

“My heart swelled,” Morgan says. “In that moment, I felt a profound sense of gratitude, pride, understanding and loss. Because freedom is not free.”

Morgan’s CDL driver permit enables him to make this meaningful drive into Arlington National Cemetery year after year. Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today on Drive My Way. It’s free!

 

 

Images from Murray Morgan, featured image by Elizabeth Geraci