The Wreaths Across America caravan — a yearly tradition that takes thousands of Maine wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia — made a pit stop at the Mount View Complex Sunday, Dec. 9, to the delight of many supporters on hand.

The parade of 12 decorated tractor-trailers carrying 253,000 sponsored wreaths, wrapped vehicles, WAA employees, volunteers and partner organizations stopped at the school for an hour-long ceremony and lunch. State troopers and police departments from across the state also took part in the escort.

Local organizations participating in the event included Randall Collins VFW Post 3108 and Frank D. Hazeltine American Legion Post 43, both of Belfast; Garry Owen Motorcycle Club; Girl Scout Troop 1986 from Searsmont; and Unity Boy Scout Troop 233.

Waldo County Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton was master of ceremonies for the event, which included performances by the Mount View High School Concert Band, Mount View Chamber Singers, and the fourth- and fifth-grade chorus.

The guest speaker, Waldo County Sen. Erin Herbig, said, "Sacrifice is what comes to mind today. … Thank you to the Worcesters for creating this event and thank you for the men and women in the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

National Honor Society officers, along with Waldo County Sheriff's Department, presented Wreaths Across America founders Morrill and Karen Worcester with a check for $1,040.

Wreaths Across America Event Coordinator Kelly Hinkle said Mount View was "hand-picked" by Morrill Worcester, who knew about the school and the community.

"Just look at the spirit of this community," Hinkle said referring to the flag-lined entrance to the Mount View school complex. "This is beautiful."

Hinkle said more than 50 decorated trucks were part of the caravan, and noted that coordinated groups "branch off" to visit different locations before reuniting at Arlington National Cemetery.

Regional School Unit 3 Superintendent Paul Austin said he was "absolutely honored" to be tapped to host the stop, adding "everybody shines today."

Col. Hamilton Richards, a Mount View High School graduate, also spoke at the ceremony. In keeping with the Wreaths Across America theme of "remember, honor and teach," he encouraged students to visit cemeteries and battlefields to gain perspective.

Local veterans from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War and Afghanistan War were recognized. One veteran in attendance, Carmine Pecorelli, was noted as having served in three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam).

Sheriff Trafton also recognized Gold Star Families traveling with the caravan and said, "I hope there will never be an addition to this list of wars."

All participants in the caravan were given a specially prepared lunch, complete with handwritten "thank you" cards made by students, before heading off to their next scheduled stop in Augusta.

Sponsors for the event included Bangor Savings Bank, Unity Dunkin' Donuts, Belfast Hannaford and the Culinary Arts group at Waldo County Tech Center.