The annual Wreaths Across America escort from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery will be stopping at the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday, Dec. 9, for a special Veterans Appreciation Rally from 2 to 4 p.m. on 76 Community Drive in Augusta. Community members are encouraged to attend as the veterans’ remembrance wreaths stop in Augusta on their way to Washington, D.C., and the nation’s cemetery for National Wreaths Across America Day, held this year on Saturday, Dec. 15, according to a news release from Wreaths Across America.

Vietnam veteran and Maine humorist Gary Crocker will emcee the event and a mobile Vets Center unit — a free program supporting veterans as they readjust to life after deployment — also will be onsite. The rally is part of the WAA mission to remember, honor and teach through the laying of remembrance wreaths at Arlington, as well as at nearly 1,500 additional locations across the country.

The Six String Soldiers, a five-member acoustic group will perform bluegrass, country, folk and Americana music. Before coming together in the nation’s capital, these active duty soldiers served overseas in Iraq, Korea, Germany and Belgium. They’ve performed in concert with John Fogerty, Darryl Worley and Harry Connick Jr.

The event will be attended by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs staff, local veterans and their families, Karen and Morrill Worcester, executive director and founder (respectively) of Wreaths Across America, and Wreaths Across America volunteers and supporters, according to a news release from the organization.

Prior to the rally, WAA will host a free public Touch a Truck event from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Augusta Civic Center parking lot. There will be 50-plus WAA wrapped tractor trailers and first responders.

The wreaths’ journey to Arlington began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992. It has now become an emotional and educational experience as the convoy passes through each state, town and community, according to the release.

This year, the escort will consist of 11 tractor-trailer trucks and dozens of partners and volunteers, including Morrill and Karen Worcester, Wreaths Across America founder and executive director, respectively, American Gold Star Families, active and retired military members and Patriot Guard Riders. National President of American Gold Star Mothers, Becky Christmas, will lead the convoy as this year’s Grand Marshal.

About Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, Wreaths Across America’s mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,500 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.

For more information or to sponsor a wreath, visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.

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