After a Dec. 7 send-off ceremony and invocation, Barry Pottle — president and chief executive officer of Bangor, Maine-based Pottle’s Transportation — donated his time and equipment to drive a load of 5,400 wreaths to decorate Arlington National Cemetery for the holidays. Pottle’s truckload of wreaths was just one of about 30 loads being delivered to 350 different cemeteries across the United States as part of the Wreaths Across America program.
As Pottle drove his truck from Maine to Virginia escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders and Maine State Police troopers, the convoy stopped at various schools and veterans’ rallies along the way. The last stop was Saturday, Dec. 13, at Arlington National Cemetery, where thousands of people attended a wreath-laying ceremony. Ceremonies at other cemeteries and memorial sites across the country were scheduled to take place at the same approximate time.
“This is an excellent way for my trucking company to give something back for our fallen heroes,” says Pottle, past chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association. “After all, what better time of year can there be than the holidays to show our support to those who died giving us our freedom?”
The Wreaths Across America project began more than 15 years ago when Worcester Wreath Co. began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery during the holidays. The mission has been the same since 1992: to remember the fallen, to honor those who serve in the military, and to teach children the value of their service.
For 2008, Worcester Wreath donated 18,000 wreaths toward the effort. The rest are being paid for by donors to Wreaths Across America. TCA made a $500 donation toward the cause. In addition, Baylor Trucking Inc. agreed to deliver 3,000 live wreaths adorned with red bows to veterans’ cemeteries in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.