Wreaths Across America in York: An Important Tradition

Sophie Scapicchio, Writer

As a child, a man named Morrill Worcester took a trip to Washington D.C. He was greatly inspired by Arlington National Cemetery, and went on to found the Worcester Wreath Company. In 1992, finding that he had a surplus of wreaths, he arranged for them to be placed on graves in Arlington Cemetery. This became a quiet tradition until it gained traction in 2005, when pictures and stories of the adorned graves began to go viral. From this, the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America was born.

Today, Wreaths Across America is an organization that places wreaths on the graves of veterans across 3,400 locations in all 50 states. This happens annually every December 17th, which is known as National Wreaths Across America Day.

This tradition began in York five years ago, and has grown rapidly since then. Todd Frederick, the director of the First Parish Cemetery, says, “In our first year we had 8 wreaths. The support from our community is tremendous and demonstrates a resounding thank you for your service to our veterans.” This year, over 1,000 wreaths have been sponsored by friends and family of veterans, and of many individuals and groups supporting the program.

The goal of the organization is to thank veterans who lost their lives in combat for their service, and to make sure that their stories are not forgotten. Frederick explains, “We started the program to Remember, Honor, and Teach the importance of never forgetting the veterans’ men and women have given to protect the freedoms of all of us.”

First Parish Cemetery is located behind First Parish Church in York, and currently has over 7,000 memorials. Its tranquil setting helps remind everyone to honor the people buried there, and on Saturday, December 17th, many of the veterans there will be given the honor of having a wreath placed on their grave. This tradition is extremely important to the town of York, and Frederick says, “It is my hope the program continues to grow.”