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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Washington DC - August 23, 2010

Military Order of the Purple Heart Honors Morrill Worcester and Wreaths Across America

Mr. Morrill Worcester of Harrington, Maine was honored on August 14, 2010 at the annual convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Orlando, Florida.  National Commander Jim Sims presented Mr. Worcester with the prestigious George Washington Medallion of Merit.

During the Military Order of the Purple Heart National Convention, held this year in Orlando, Florida, Mr. Morrill Worcester of Harrington, Maine, and founder of “Wreaths Across America,” was honored with the prestigious George Washington Medallion of Merit for his extraordinary service to America’s fallen warriors.  Mr. Worcester was accompanied by his wife, Karen, daughter Molly, and grandson Duke.

The Arlington Wreath program was started by Morrill Worcester (Worcester Wreath) in 1992 with the donation and laying of 5000 Christmas wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, a ceremony that has continued each year thereafter.  This selfless ceremony was relatively obscure until 2005 when a photo of the stones adorned with wreaths and covered in snow circulated around the internet and the project received National attention.  Thousands of requests, pouring in from all over the country from people wanting to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, spurred the creation of “Wreaths Across America™” (WAA).  Unable to donate thousands of wreaths to each state, Mr. Worcester conceived the idea of sending 7 wreaths (one for each branch of the military as well as POW/MIA). 

The Patriot Guard Riders volunteered to escort the wreaths enroute to Arlington National Cemetery.  This began the annual “Veterans Honor Parade” that travels the east coast in early December.  By 2008 over 300 locations held wreath laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries.  Over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves with the participation of over 60,000 volunteers.  The WAA objective was to reach out to all Americans with the message of Remember, Honor and Teach, stressing the importance of honoring each fallen service member as an individual.  The wreath laying is now held annually on the second Saturday of December.  Wreaths Across America™ would not be successful without the help of the volunteers, many active organizations and the generosity of the trucking industry;  collectively, they thank our military and their families for “Our Freedom”!

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, through veteran service, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.

For information see www.wreathsacrossamerica.com or contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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