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Christmas at Arlington Cemetery

Netlore Archive: Emailed images show Christmas wreaths adorning the headstones of every fallen soldier interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Description: Viral images
Circulating since: Dec. 2005
Status: Authentic

Email contributed by Ernie L., Jan. 9, 2006:

Subject: Christmas at Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery at Christmas

Picture of Arlington National Cemetery at Christmas

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell..

Christmas at Arlington Cemetery

These wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

(U.S. Air Force photos by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

Analysis: These images are authentic and came from from a December 19, 2005 article published on Air Force Link, the official online news service of the U.S. Air Force. Snapped by Air Force photographer Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi, the pictures document the 14th annual Christmas wreath laying event at Arlington National Cemetery.

The tradition was started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine. That year he brought thousands of surplus wreaths and a group of volunteers who helped him decorate the gravesites of America's fallen soldiers. Since then it has become an annual event and was expanded in 2006 with the assistance of the Civil Air Patrol to include all of the 230 state and national cemeteries and veterans' monuments throughout the U.S.

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Sources and further reading:

Airmen, Civilians Lay Wreaths at Arlington
Air Force Print News, 19 December 2005

Arlington National Cemetery: Christmas Wreath Layings
From Arlington National Cemetery official website

Arlington National Cemetery
Unofficial website dedicated to Arlington National Cemetery

Last updated: 11/01/06

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