City Leaders, Vets, Students and Community to Welcome 50-Plus Vehicle Convoy; Mayor, DAV Chapter 8 and Special Guests to Take Part in Grand Ceremony
New Britain, Conn., December 8, 2022 – The country’s longest veterans’ parade – Wreaths Across America’s annual “Escort to Arlington” – will make an official stop in New Britain next Tuesday, December 13, and the City, local students, veterans and a variety of special guests are planning to roll out the red carpet as the 50-plus vehicle convoy, including at least a dozen 18 wheelers, makes the first of only two scheduled stops in the Nutmeg State on its way to Arlington National Cemetery.
The convoy, which leaves Maine this Saturday, December 10 and will make more than 25 stops in seven states next week as it travels to the nation’s capital to deliver 300,000-plus wreaths for National Wreaths Across America Day Saturday, December 17, will be accompanied by Chevrolet vehicles, the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit, a busload of Gold Star and Blue Star families and guests, and Wreaths Across America officials. A formal ceremony will take place at New Britain High School at 10 a.m.
“The City of New Britain is honored to be one of this year’s Escort to Arlington stops as the convoy travels to Arlington National Cemetery,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart. “This event is a reflection of our community’s steadfast commitment to honoring the sacrifice of all who bravely answered the call to serve our great country.”
“As the organizer of New Britain’s annual Wreaths Across America Day at Fairview Cemetery, the Disabled American Veterans, Hardware City Chapter 8 is thrilled to have been notified of this tremendous honor,” said Tom Higgins, adjutant/secretary of DAV Hardware City Chapter 8. “This will be a banner day in New Britain’s proud history of honoring those who served.”
Taking part in the ceremony at the high school’s auditorium will be Mayor Stewart; State Representative Donna Veach (Berlin/Southington), who is Chair of the Wreaths Across America of New Britain initiative; Peter Scirpo, Commander of DAV Hardware Chapter 8; and Special Guest Speaker Major Daniel Eddinger, U.S. Army (retired), who is a Vietnam veteran, recipient of two Purple Hearts and Commander of the Department of Connecticut Military Order of the Purple Heart. Wreaths Across America Board Chairman Wayne Hansen and Executive Director Karen Worcester, who are traveling with the convoy, will also be part of the ceremony.
Also taking part will be New Britain High School students and groups including students from the high school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Pastor Thomas Mills of Grace Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will deliver the invocation. WTNH News 8 Meteorologist Gil Simmons, a Marine Corps veteran, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Special guests will include Berlin Mayor Mark Kaczynski and Peter Galgano of the Berlin Veterans Commission, representing Berlin veterans and the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Berlin.
Select portions of the ceremony will include wreath presentations to representatives of each branch of military service, along with special wreath presentations to New Britain and Berlin Greatest Generation Veterans Willie D’Amato, Al Nelson and Gene Polaske; the presentation of a City proclamation by Mayor Stewart to Wreaths Across America officials; and special recognition by Mayor Stewart of local individuals who personify in their daily lives and pursuits the 2022 Wreaths Across America motto, “Find a Way to Serve:” Michael and Kara Ahern of Scoops for Troops, Kristen Gauvin of Boxes to Boots, Jeff Taddeo of Whitson’s School Nutrition, and City of New Britain Veterans Affairs Clerk Sandy Keefe.
The convoy will travel down Interstate 91 and enter New Britain via Route 9. It will take Route 571 then exit the highway at South Main Street/New Britain Road near the New Britain/Berlin line, directly across from Willow Brook Park. The convoy will cross into the Willow Brook Park sports complex at John Karbonic Way and make its way to the high school, parking along the road adjacent to the high school auditorium.
Auditorium space will be extremely limited with the number of convoy participants, guests and students expected to attend. Members of the public wishing to see the convoy may see its arrival at Willow Brook Park at approximately 9:30 a.m. but are advised that viewing opportunities may be limited due to traffic enforcement and possible road closures by local police to accommodate the convoy.
What began 30 years ago as a pilgrimage by Maine wreath-maker, Morrill Worcester, in a single truck to deliver 5,000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery as a gesture of gratitude has become a national mission to Remember, Honor, Teach. National Wreaths Across America Day ceremonies will take place at more than 3,600 participating locations across the country on Saturday, December 17, including at New Britain’s Fairview Cemetery at 11 a.m. To learn more about the Wreaths Across America of New Britain initiative, visit www.davchapter8.org.
To view the complete schedule of convoy stops, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/arlington-escort-information.
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About Wreaths Across America: Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at more than 2,900 participating locations in all 50 states and overseas. For more information, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
Local: Dennis Buden, DAV Hardware City Chapter 8/Wreaths Across America of New Britain (860) 558-0514 firstname.lastname@example.org
WAA: Sean Sullivan (207) 230-4599 email@example.com