Morrill Worcester had a dream in 1992 which dealt with expanding the wreath laying ceremony held each year at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He had visited there as a young man, and in 1992, when he found himself with a surplus of wreaths, he moved them to Arlington to expand the ceremony held there.
For 15 years Morrill carried on his tradition, until his generosity was uncovered. Since then, his efforts have grown to thousands of veterans’ cemeteries across the nation and many other local cemeteries throughout the nation as we remember our veterans who have passed. Subsequently, the Wreaths Across America 501(c)(3) was created to help the expansion of giving.
Men, women and children gather on December 19 all across America to pay their respects to those who have made the sacrifice of service to the nation. From the American Revolution to the latest conflicts in the Middle East and the War on Terror, we the gather on that day to lay wreaths of respect. At Arlington Cemetery, in small-town communities such as Marco Island, as well as in more than 2000 additional locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad, the tradition continues.
On Marco Island, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) stepped up and took on the task of ensuring those laid to rest here were not forgotten. They began the solemn duty of arranging for the ceremony to be done here at the Marco Island Cemetery on Bald Eagle Drive.
They joined with other sponsoring organizations across the country this last Saturday and began their ceremony sharply at noon with a welcoming statement from DAR Regent Ellen Camm from the Marco Chapter of the DAR. The Reverend Thomas McCulley opened the event with a prayer that was followed by a short presentation by both Former DAR Regent Pat Hancock and Lee Rubenstein, who is Commander of the local American Legion Post 404.
Members of Post 404 laid wreaths at the Armed Forces Memorial at the Marco Cemetery. Each branch of the services was represented by individuals of the post, and those wreaths were donated to the DAR by the Wreaths Across America Foundation.
Claudia Curle, late mother of Chris Curle, another well-known Marco Island resident, was a leader in the efforts of the DAR. Chris herself was in attendance to lay a wreath on her father’s grave in the Marco Island Cemetery to honor her father as part of the ceremony that day, continuing her mother’s tradition of service to the Daughters of the American Revolution.
At the end of the ceremony members would disperse out through the cemetery and distribute the wreaths onto the graves of those service men and women no longer with us.