A Christmas Tribute To Our Heros

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Build your vocabulary, feed the hungry...

We suggest you grab a few of these before you proceed...

We received an email from our cousin Denise on Saturday and then got the same one from Dad Vince yesterday. As is our custom with emails such as the one below, we went over to Snopes.com to check it out...and found it is 100% accurate...actually, the email does not even begin to tell the entire story, so we decided to try and tell it here...

First...the email:


Arlington at Christmas

I had no idea this was done. I thought you might want to see it.

Arlington National Cemetery

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...

Readers may be interested to know that 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.

Please share this with everyone on your address list. You hear too much about the bad things people do. Everyone should hear about this.

This email must have started years ago, because this is the tip of the iceberg from Mr. Worcester and his company and the thousands who have joined in this annual pilgrimage.

The truck left Maine on Sunday...the following is an article which appeared in The Boston Globe this past Sunday which tells the story so much better than we ever could...

grab the tissues...

Jenna Russell
Boston Globe Staff
December 9, 2007

HARRINGTON, Maine - In a workshop halfway down the ragged eastern edge of Maine, past narrow coastal bridges and fawn-colored winter meadows, the smell of Christmas is almost overwhelming.

Hundreds of workers tend lush, green rings of balsam here, in a pretty village off Route 1, at the headquarters of the Worcester Wreath Co. They noisily trim branches, their hands a busy blur, and swiftly add fat pine cones, berries, and red velvet bows.

The company, owned by Morrill Worcester, will ship more than half a million evergreen wreaths, centerpieces, and tabletop trees by Christmas, an enormous undertaking polished smooth by 25 years of experience filling orders for the retail giant L.L. Bean.

Driven, he says, by gratitude for his success, Worcester has also undertaken another project: Donating thousands of wreaths to decorate veterans' graves in Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere.

This week, the Maine wreath-maker will donate an unprecedented 15,000 wreaths, including 10,000 for Arlington, in Arlington, Va., 2,500 for Togus National Cemetery near Augusta, Maine; and 2,000 more for 286 other veterans' cemeteries around the country.

About 70 wreaths were sent to soldiers in Iraq, accompa nied by cards handmade by Harrington schoolchildren.

"We've been very lucky here - donating 15,000 wreaths is the least we can do," said Worcester, 57, a plainspoken native of Down East Maine who started selling wreaths when he was a college student. "In this country, the harder you work, the better you can do. That's not true in a lot of other countries, and it didn't come without sacrifice."

Worcester's holiday tribute to veterans began 15 years ago with a simple miscalculation. In the holiday rush of 1992, the company ended up with too many wreaths. Faced with the fresh, piney excess, Worcester's mind flashed to the veterans cemetery in Arlington, Va.

He had visited Arlington only once, as a 12-year-old paperboy for the Bangor Daily News, a trip he won for signing up the most new subscribers.

"It really stuck with me, the sheer size of it," he said. "I happened to think of it then, of putting the wreaths to good use."

In 1992, Worcester donated and delivered 5,000 wreaths. The number stayed the same until he doubled it this year. Arlington's superintendent chooses a different area for the wreaths each year, usually an older section, where graves are less likely to be decorated by family members.

The cemetery superintendent, John C. Metzler, said the wreaths are a striking reminder that the sacrifices of the service members have not been forgotten.

"Visitors are in awe when they visit the cemetery and see the vast landscape of graves with the festive wreaths laying against the stones," Metzler wrote in an e-mail. "It really is a beautiful and picturesque image that moves people. Plus, it's great to know that people truly remember all those service members who gave their all for America."

Few people knew of Worcester's annual pilgrimage until two years ago, when a Pentagon photographer snapped a picture of the snowy, wreath-bedecked cemetery and posted it, with a poem, on the Internet. Suddenly, word of the good deed began to spread.

Since then, the wreath business in remote Washington County has been flooded with letters, phone calls, and visits from veterans and their families. Some send gifts and thank-you cards. Others want to help.

A few call to share the stories of troops who have been killed, said Karen Worcester, who takes the calls with a couple of helpers at the company's busy shipping center, under a wreath adorned with tiny American flags.

Just off the phone with one such caller on a recent afternoon, she wiped away tears before introducing herself to a reporter.

Downstairs, workers slapped address labels on neatly boxed wreaths and tossed them on conveyor belts, bound for waiting trucks. As his business has grown more profitable, Worcester has built several modern facilities, including the shipping center, expanding his operation from the century-old schoolhouse where he started, where wreaths are still made in rooms with creaking wooden floors.

He owns 4,000 acres of balsam trees, where workers trim the tips, which are made into wreaths. Worcester shuttles between the woods and warehouses in a cherry-red Hummer, quietly overseeing a staff that grows at this time of year to more than 700 employees, a mix of locals and migrant workers from Haiti and South America. In the offseason, about 50 workers spend months preparing bows and decorations to prepare for the holiday rush.

In the company conference room, where the walls are covered with rows of framed letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings about the wreath donations, the couple struggled to explain their mixed feelings about the response. Karen Worcester pointed to a photograph of a handsome young man in uniform who was killed in Iraq. His parents sent the picture, with a note of thanks.

"We don't know what to do with that," she said. "They say 'Thank you,' and we say, 'No, thank you.' "

Moved by surging public interest in their gift, the couple established a nonprofit organization this year with a website where wreaths can be purchased and donated for $15 apiece. Almost 20,000 wreaths have been donated through the new venture, WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA, they said. Altogether, volunteers across the country will decorate about 35,000 veterans' graves during simultaneous gatherings Saturday morning, to be followed by ceremonies at noon.

The Worcesters will accompany the wreaths to Arlington this week, as they do each year. They plan to travel more than 700 miles down Route 1 to join 1,000 volunteers who are expected to lay wreaths, the largest turnout yet. The couple say they want to make the most of the attention, and they have scheduled a series of stops at schools, malls, and town halls along the route to talk about the importance of honoring veterans.

Escorted by carloads of supporters and members of the Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle brigade, the caravan of wreaths - which the Worcesters fondly call "the world's longest veterans parade" - is scheduled to make stops tomorrow in Massachusetts at Salisbury Elementary School and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford.

"Who are we? Nobody," Karen Worcester said. "All we wanted was to quietly be grateful, and we don't know what happened. But somebody said to us, it doesn't matter why - you've got their ear, now talk to them."

The wreaths help people connect to distant events, said Larry Ross, a teacher in Skowhegan who travels to Arlington every December to help lay wreaths with a busload of fifth- and sixth-graders.

"You can walk around and not even know, unless you pay close attention, that the country is at war, and every day somebody's family is getting the worst news of their life," he said. "I think what [Worcester] does resonates with people because they know they should be paying attention."

This year, Ross had his students research the lives of 50 troops who have died in Iraq, one from each state, and arranged for them to meet the troops' families at the cemetery. The students made 50 clay stars to lay at the graves with the wreaths.

Morrill Worcester says he can imagine that some day, there will be enough donations for wreaths to cover Arlington's more than 300,000 stones.

"It may sound ridiculous," he said. "It may be going out on a limb. But there may come a time when we do every grave."

Now, if that did not get the tear ducts going...following are two videos...the first was put together by the WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA,

This next one is a compilation of news footage from different sources, all of which aired last year to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the laying of the wreaths...

If you would like to tell the WORCESTER WREATH COMPANY how you feel, you can go HERE and leave a comment...

This years itinerary:
Maybe they will be driving by your home - go out and wave!

December 9, 2007 - Harrington, Maine
9:00 am - Volunteers gather and decorate wreaths for Arlington
10:00-11:00 - Patriot Guard Escort staging @ Worcester Wreath Company
11:20-11:45 - Send-off Ceremony
12:00 Noon - Wreaths loaded and escort departs Harrington for Arlington Virginia via US Route 1.
12:45 - Escort stops in Sullivan, Me for wreath presentation to Veterans Group
1:15 - Escort departs and heads South on Route 1.
2:30 - Stop @ Rockland Legion Hall/ Fire Dept will escort us in
4:00 - Stop in Wiscasset Irving for break and pick up PGR escort people. Emergency Vehicle Parade thru Falmouth
6:00 p.m. - Stop in Portland for ceremony Loring Memorial Park. Portland AMVETS have offered dinner to all in escort
8:30 p.m. - Arrive in So. Portland, Me. For overnight accommodations

December 10, 2007 So. Portland, Me
7:00 a.m. - PGR Staging @ Merry Manor Rt. 1 South Portland
8:00 - Escort departs So. Portland
8:15 - Escort arrives at Scarborough Veterans Home for brief visit. Presentation of wreath to Veterans.
9:00 - Escort arrives in Old Orchard Beach for stop at elementary school. Presentation of wreath to school.
10:00 - Escort arrives at Wells Jr. High. Presentation wreath to school
11:15 - Escort arrives at Kittery trading post for the town of Kittery to acknowledge the wreath escort.
12:00 - Staging for NH PGR Escort @ Kittery Trading Post
12:30 - Depart Kittery trading post.
1:00 - Escort arrives at Salisbury Elementary School Route 1 Salisbury, MA. PGR staging.
2:30 - Escort arrives at Bedford VA Hospital for brief ceremony, Bedford, MA
4:00 - Arrive in Foxboro @ the Parking Lot across from Gillette Stadium for truck parking and a brief welcome.

December 11, 2007 8:00 a.m. - PGR Staging @ Parking Lot across from Gillette Stadium.
8:30 - Escort leaves hotel for staging area and a brief ceremony.
9:30 - Escort leaves Foxboro.
10:30 - Escort arrives at Emerald Square Mall and meets with Rhode Island PGR.
11:15 - Escort will depart Emerald Square Mall.
3:00 - Meet CT PGR escort Stonington High School, Route 1 Stonington, Conn Approx 1 1/2 miles into CT.
4:00 - Arriving @ Groton CT for brief ceremony.
4:30 - Escort leaves Groton CT.
5:30 p.m. Escort arrives in Old Saybrook, CT for the night.
***Several events have been planned for this evening by the town of Old Saybrook ***

December 12, 2007
7:30 a.m. - Breakfast @ Old Saybrook High School ALL INVITED.!
8:30 - PGR staging @ Old Saybrook High School
9:15 - Escort Departs Old Saybrook.
11:00 - Escort stops in Hamden, CT Middle School
12:45 - Escort stops in Fairfield CT. Tomlinson Middle School
3:00 p.m. - Escort arrives in Darien CT for the evening.

December 13, 2007
8:30 a.m. - PGR staging (NY & CT) @ the VFW Hall in Darien CT.
9:00 - Escort departs Darien, CT
10:00 - Escort arrives at Rye City Hall, Rye, NY for short ceremony.
10:45 - Escort Stops in Mamaroneck NY for wreath ceremony.
12:15 - Escorts departs Mamaroneck NY.
1:00 - Escort stops in Fort Lee New Jersey for ceremony (VFW or Town Hall).
1:30 - Escort leaves Fort Lee, New Jersey
4:00 p.m. - Escort arrives in Morrisville PA for the night.

December 14, 2007
7:00 a.m. - PGR staging at Holiday Inn Express Morrisville, PA.
8:00 - Escort leaves Morrisville, PA.
9:00 - Escort arrives at Maternity BVM elementary school, Philadelphia, PA for brief ceremony.
11:30 - Escort arrives in Oxford, PA for ceremony.
12:30 - Escort arrives in MD picks up MD PGR escort
1:30 - Escort arrives in Bel Air, Md for Wreath ceremony at Veterans Memorial and at Middle School.
4:00 - Escort arrives in Brentwood, MD for ceremony
4:45 p.m. - Escort trucks arrive at College Park Fire Station to be washed and spend night.

December 15, 2007
5:30 a.m. - PGR Staging @ the Fire Department.

Want to track the caravan on-line? Go HERE.

Thank you Mr. Worcester...this supports those who have given their life to guard our freedom... it is NOT about the politics behind the wars they fought or are fighting in... May their souls rest in eternal bliss...

(We are not sure we will be there, as we have a business dinner tomorrow evening)

Coming up this week on DR. BLOGSTEIN'S RADIO HAPPY HOUR: (Live on Tuesday December 11th at 9PM ET and forever archived at BlogTalkRadio.)

Dr. Blogstein and Dangerous Lee will find out what is deemed "Too Hot for Blog Talk Radio" when they welcome Miyoko Fujimori to the Radio Happy Hour.

Miyoko owns and operates Indulge Party, a home party company that teaches women and couples how to enhance their intimate lives. She also hosts Shop Erotic TV, a home shopping show that features romantic products. But when she tried to get herself a show on BlogTalkRadio she was shut down. We'll learn why. We'll also make you blush.

Then, rapper Hassahn Phenomenon stops in to "Move the Crowd" and drop some rhymes (can I sound any whiter?) We'll also find out how he is connected to Nadia Bjorlin, the hot soap opera actress we talked about on last week's program.

All that, plus we'll get an update from former guest Jessica Dorfman Jones and find out how her book ended up being part of a high profile crime investigation, SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE CYBERWAVES Vinny Bond drags his Big Leather Couch into the Radio Happy Hour Lounge and chats live with the listeners, your calls at 646-652-4804, and we'll talk more about the OVEN BAG HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM ET. The Radio Happy Hour Lounge--a live chat room during show time--is a whole new reason to make sure you listen live! It’s the show within the show!

23 Of Your Sparks

  1. Travis Cody Says:
  2. Thanks for sharing that. I'd heard about this project but didn't know the scope of it.

  3. Schmoop Says:
  4. Great post. And thanks for the tissue alert, I needed one. But only because I have a strange sexual attraction to wreaths. Cheers Vin!!

  5. Anndi Says:
  6. Softy...


  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. Incredible blog. A good story, about good people doing a good thing.

  9. RW Says:
  10. Morrill Worcester WOW that guy has a heart the size of America! That is the coolest thing!! I did not know that. Thanks for sharing Vin

  11. Angell Says:
  12. Thanks for the tissue warning. I needed that.

    Fabulous post Vinny. I'm gonna share this with everyone I know.

    Christmas generosity knows no bounds.


  13. Thank you for sharing Vinny. I did not know this.

  14. Tug Says:
  15. I'd heard of this, but yeah...not to this extent.


  16. AtriaBooks Says:
  17. great story but I hope it wasn't sullied by my sensationalist show promo!

  18. Wow.

  19. katherine. Says:
  20. I love this story....but my favorite part was about the teacher who teaches his 5th and 6th graders about the vets...and takes them to help lay out the wreaths.

  21. OBLadyBug Says:
  22. What a great post Vinny. Thanks for sharing such a great story about people making a differnce.

  23. TRAVIS: It is growing every year...and if we get the word out, it can get bigger and better

    MATT-MAN: Only you brotha...only you

    ANNDI: I have a great teacher...YOU Smooch and TY for the shout on your blog

    DAD: You and denise clued me into it...TY

    ROGER: he is a man who should be honored...

    ANGELL: Spread the word..and we can expand it to your Veteran cemetery's also

    DIXIE: Spread the word....

    TUG: It is growing and is such a wonderful thing

    DOC: LOL I almost skipped the promo dude...LOL

    SONGBIRD: That was my reaction...well that and some tears

    KATHERINE: I loved that part also...each one selects a soldier form one of the 50 states...and the family's meet them there when possible...so freakin cool

    OBLADYBUG: My pleasure darlin'...Glad you enjoyed...

  24. this is one that i DID know but thanks for posting it anyway, it is a lovely story of respect and honor...

    smiles, bee

  25. Sniff!

    You are a sweetie...


  26. Thanks Mr Bond, this is a great post. I did a post, much smaller than yours, about these guys a couple of weeks ago. This is way cool.

  27. Bar Says:
  28. Wow, thanks for sharing this. Its beautiful.

    I am going to play the rice game now.

  29. Meribah Says:
  30. I'm not gonna cry...I'm not gonna cry...ah damm! Pass the puppy some tissues, this is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Bond. Hugs! :)

  31. Mimi Lenox Says:
  32. I had heard of this. It is amazing. What a beautiful thing to do. Thanks for reminding us that there are good people in the world who do things "just because" ....

  33. Julie Says:
  34. Very interesting Mr. Vinny. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute here. I appreciate you taking the time to do all this.


  35. Mia Says:
  36. Bittersweet.....it's beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing.

  37. Rainbow Says:
  38. Thank you, Vince for sharing this incredible act of kindness and generosity. How does one show love in this life? One random act of kindness, one day at a time. My cousin, Tim, a Top Gun, is buried at Arlington Cemetary. So I used 2 boxes of tissues. God Bless you dear Tim and all the Soldiers who have given their lives so that we may be free.


  39. BEE: You are welcome

    108: Muah back dear

    SARGE: Sorry i missed yours

    BARBARA: You are welcome and hopefully you will surface in the next week..that game is addicting

    MERI: Here are the tissues...no reason not to cry

    MIMI: 'just because' is perfect

    JULIE: HUGS...my pleasure

    MIRANDA: Bittersweet is true...so sad there are so many and that so many go uncovered

    SUEANN: I salute Tim for his service and wish his entire family peace


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