Escort to Arlington

Public invited to Wreaths Across America welcome Sunday at BAHS

Plan to arrive about 1 p.m. for ceremony in gym
By Carolyn Zachary | Dec 04, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez A tractor-trailer truck in last year's Wreaths Across America convoy during its rest stop at Mount View High School in Thorndike. This year, the convoy will stop in Belfast.

Belfast — Wreaths Across America’s 2019 Escort to Arlington will make its way down Route 1 through Waldo County Sunday, Dec. 8, stopping for an early afternoon program at Belfast Area High School to remember our fallen veterans, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom, in keeping with the WAA mission.

Principal Jeff Lovejoy is hoping the community will turn out en masse for the ceremony in the high school gymnasium.

Following its stop in Belfast, the wreath-laden convoy will continue traveling and stopping at schools and other public places for similar ceremonies in each state en route to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

On National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, Dec. 14, members of the convoy will lay wreaths at the graves of servicemen and women in Arlington National Cemetery. Simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies will take place in cemeteries in Maine and across the country.

Beginning its trek Saturday, Dec. 7, the Escort to Arlington leaves Lubec, near the Canadian border, following a sunrise service at West Quoddy Head Light. The convoy will make its way through Calais, Harrington and Hancock to Ellsworth for a 10 a.m. ceremony there on Sunday, and then will follow Route 1 across the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, heading south.

Former VFW Commander Steve Brown of Belfast will meet the convoy near the corner of Station Avenue and E. Main Street (Route 1) in Searsport, driving the VFW Jeep bearing the Wreaths Across America flag, the post flag and the American flag. The convoy will follow him down Route 1 and across the Passagassawakeg Bridge into Belfast.

Once across the Passagassawakeg Bridge, the convoy will exit Route 1 south and take a left on High St, left on Vine St., left on Waldo Ave. before arriving at BAHS.

The Escort to Arlington is expected to arrive at BAHS about 1 p.m. and will park in lots around the high school. Non-convoy vehicles will be directed to park along Waldo Avenue, in the VFW lot on Field Street, behind the Waterfall Arts building and elsewhere.

Local individuals and families should plan to arrive at the BAHS gymnasium by 1 p.m., Lovejoy said. The ceremony inside is expected to begin by 1:15 p.m.

Members of Randall-Collins VFW Post 3108 in Belfast, the Patriot Riders and the Coast Guard are working with Lovejoy to organize the program.

Plans call for a flag line of VFW, Patriot Riders and Coast Guard members to greet escort drivers and passengers as they enter the high school.

The VFW color guard will carry colors into the gym, where local Boy Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The Troy Howard Middle Chorus will sing, and Ames Elementary School students will demonstrate what they learned in placing flags at veterans’ graves in Grove Cemetery on Memorial Day, reciting each service branch and each name, and then placing the flag.

The VFW will set up a Table for One, also known as the Missing Man Table, and a student will explain the meaning of the table setting.

High school students will present wreaths to area Gold Star Families and three students will perform a symbolic flag-folding ceremony with 13 folds. They will use a flag flown over the State House, presented to the school by Belfast VFW.

The program will close with a musical piece sung by students.

Wreaths Across America will leave behind a large wreath to be placed at the World War I monument on the Armistice Footbridge Dec. 14, as wreaths are placed simultaneously on veterans’ graves in Arlington and across the country.

As members of the convoy depart at 2 p.m., they will leave with bag lunches donated by Bank of America.

For more information about the Escort to Arlington or to sponsor a wreath, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org/arlington-escort-information.

 

 

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