Thank you for returning this week to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. My joy-filled wishes to you and your loved ones as we celebrate Christmas, which is one of our national holidays. We have a lot of sickness in my extended family, so we will be visiting a nursing home to see Grandma, a grandson with Lyme disease, a teen who has had a major life setback, a mom with a mid-life crisis… and you know how it goes. None of us is immune to the things of life over the holidays. Still, deep down, I find joy in the music, preparations, and celebration of Christmas. My wish is that we capture a few restful, peace-filled moments of reflection and meditation on the things that matter most in life.
In our first story, we take a look at a meaningful American tradition of laying wreaths on fallen heroes’ graves. In our second article, “Which Government is Best?”, we compare two types of governments. That the fallen chose to live under and die for our system of government speaks volumes from their graves. Let’s begin with “Wreaths Across America.”
It’s truly a story of the American spirit. Born of one man’s desire to remember our fallen heroes, Christmas wreaths are placed on the graves of those who served. On Wreaths Across America Day, wreath-laying ceremonies occur at Arlington National Cemetery and in more than 2,500 locations in all 50 states, at sea, and abroad.
Morrill Worchester is the man who began this tribute. The official www.wreathsacrossamerica.org homepage tells his story.
“Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year-old paperboy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
This man’s surplus of wreaths in 1992 caused him to remember the fallen. What to do with the excess? His senator helped arrange for the wreaths to be placed in an older section of the cemetery where there are few visitors. People don’t usually walk to the remote parts of national cemeteries because it’s a long way.
I never ceased to be amazed at our incredible fellow Americans. Many of them were inspired in their youth by older Americans. Of course, we don’t hear about these stories as often as we should because good people doing good things don’t do them for recognition. They do it out of love. Every so often, their stories escape the shadows and become known. As volunteers lay the wreaths, I heard that they say the person’s name. While saying a person’s name is the sweetest sound to the living, but for the dead, it’s a way of keeping the promise never to forget.
The mission of Wreaths Across America is to :
our fallen U.S. veterans.
those who serve.
your children the value of freedom.
May we all remember, honor, and teach in some way this holiday season.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸