COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine and WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Each December, the excitement grows in anticipation for the Wreaths Across America escort of handmade balsam wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery from Maine. It has become known as the country's longest veterans parade, and this year, the weeklong journey kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 10. Grand Marshal Candy Martin, 2016 president of the American Gold Star Mothers, will lead the caravan as it travels down the East Coast stopping at schools, memorials and other locations along the way to spread the mission to REMEMBER, HONOR and TEACH.
The escort features a WEX, Inc.-sponsored VIP coach, 10 tractor-trailers, countless motorcycles and six police cruisers and 15 other vehicles. It is scheduled to make stops in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17 - National Wreaths Across America Day. View the 2016 escort route* here. "The Escort to Arlington is one small, symbolic piece of the entire Wreaths Across America package of Remember, Honor, Teach. I am truly honored to be part of such a wonderful opportunity," said Candy Martin, AGSM president and 2016 escort grand marshal. "As we travel down the countryside from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, I once again look forward to connecting with people from each community, hearing their stories of love and loss, and saying the names of their local heroes." One of escort's lead sponsors, Chevrolet, has generously provided 12 wrapped vehicles to help transport escort participants, in addition to donating 4,000 wreaths to Arlington. "The positive response that Chevrolet received from its first year's participation with Wreaths Across America was so heartfelt. There have been few organizations that I have worked with that I have received hand-written thank you notes," said Dan Adamcheck, regional director, sales, service and marketing for Chevrolet. "That shows me that this organization means so much to so many people, and we are proud to support them again this year." Escort participants include American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Wives of America, veterans and the Wreaths Across America extended family. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Patriot Riders of America and Rolling Thunder will flank the escort along with law enforcement from Maine to ensure safe transport for all participants throughout the week. Ten tractor-trailers representing the following companies: Walmart Transportation, Schneider National, Oakhurst Dairy, Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc., Delhaize Transportation LLC (DBA Hannaford Supermarkets), American Trucking Associations - Share the Road, Pottle's Transportation, Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (DBA Poland Spring Bottling Company) and North State Transportation driven by Gold Star father Scott Harris, will haul a portion of the 245,000 sponsored** wreaths heading to Arlington National Cemetery for placement on Dec. 17. What began as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths he donated to Arlington in 1992 has become a national mission 25 years later to Remember, Honor, Teach. National Wreaths Across America Day is a free event and open to ALL people.