LUBEC, Maine — The country’s longest veterans’ parade is in motion.
Wreaths Across America’s annual escort to Arlington National Cemetery kicked off Saturday with a sunrise service at West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec. The caravan of tractor-trailers carrying thousands of wreaths then stopped in Harrington, Ellsworth, Winslow, and Wiscasset on Sunday. Trucks left Portland Monday morning on a week-long trip to Virginia, with stops in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C., along the way.
The convoy includes veterans, volunteers, and Gold Star families. Law enforcement agencies are escorting the trucks.
Thousands of volunteers will gather at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday to place wreaths at the gravesites of fallen service members. As part of the annual Wreaths Across America Day, they hope to place wreaths at nearly 247,000 grave markers, according to a release.
“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester said in a release. “The way we and the mission are welcomed into communities, with flags waving and streets lined with children and veterans, is something we always wished every American could witness. This year we’re hoping that supporters will once again join us in lining the roadways safely and welcome the mission into their communities.”
Other scheduled Wreaths Across America events include another escorted convoy from Brunswick to Augusta, where participants will lay a wreath at the Maine State House. The group, made up of veterans and members of the Patriot Riders of America, will leave around 10 a.m. and arrive in Augusta at noon.
This event is part of a national program that takes place in most states to honor veterans. This year marks the second time it has happened in Maine. Featured speakers will include the director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services and the commander of the State of Maine American Legion.