Recalling the impression that a boyhood visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. made on him, he realized that he had a unique opportunity to honor our country's veterans who had sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.
That year, with the help of Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made to place wreaths at the headstones in the older part of the National Cemetery, which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.
Within a few years the annual tribute received national attention and requests began pouring in from all over the country. Unable to donate thousands of wreaths to each state, Worcester began sending seven wreaths to every state, one for each branch of the military, and one for POW/MIAs.
Now, the ceremony has become a tradition when the wreaths are laid at over 570 locations across the world on a December Saturday.
Locally, Port Hudson National Cemetery will host a remembrance wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans. The theme for this year's WAA program is “Then, Now and Forever.”
Lt. Col. Phil Collins of the Civil Air Patrol and the Capital City Composite Squadron, as well as Veterans service organizations and citizens will host the wreath-laying ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m., to honor each branch of the military, the Merchant Marines, Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action (POW/MIA).
"This is a wonderful way to bring Christmas to our veterans who have passed on. Last year I participated in memory of my father, 2nd. Lt. Billy Kemp, USAAF, WWII," said Marsha Kemp. "This is an all-volunteer movement that means a great deal to all our veterans, living and deceased."
For more information on this event, visit the Wreaths Across America website at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/.