10,000-wreath caravan plans Saybrook stop

By Rachael Scarborough King
Dec. 11, 2007

OLD SAYBROOK — Trucks loaded with 10,000 holiday wreaths bound for Arlington National Cemetery will stop here tonight and Wednesday for events featuring local and state officials, veterans, high school students and Coast Guard members.

The Wreaths Across America caravan will spend the night in Old Saybrook as the main stop in its trip through Connecticut. The program, which sends wreaths from Maine to the cemetery in Virginia, was started 16 years ago by Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath in Harrington, Maine.

Max Sabrin, media relations/special events coordinator with the Fire Department, said that members of the Coast Guard, Fire and Police department color guards will welcome the participants at the Green on Main Street at 5:30 tonight. Some will then attend the girls’ basketball game at 7:30 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School.

On Wednesday, the high school will hold an assembly open to the public that starts at 8:15 a.m. Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal are expected to attend the assembly, Sabrin said.

A representative for Wreaths Across America said that the caravan was a mile long when it left Maine and has grown. In addition to the two tractor-trailers carrying the wreaths, it includes members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a nationwide motorcycle group.

“People have no idea how great this is going to be,” Sabrin said. “We’re just hosting them to get them comfortable, feed them and have a special assembly … thanking them, because it’s just truly important, the message.”

Sabrin said that one wreath will be placed on the veterans’ memorial at the Green.

Last year, Sabrin said, town officials had hoped to play host to the Wreaths Across America tour, and some high school students and firefighters held signs supporting the participants as they passed through town. That led organizers to decide to spend the night this year, Sabrin said.

“Last year, being involved with it last minute, I didn’t realize it, but I got the chills and I got tears in my eyes,” he said. “It was very emotional.”

Before arriving in Old Saybrook, Wreaths Across America will stop in Groton at about 4 p.m. today, according to the organization.

From Old Saybrook, the caravan will continue on Route 1 through Greater New Haven Wednesday.

Sabrin said that fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles will line up along the road through the area to see off the cars and trucks.

“So, if you can’t come to Old Saybrook High School Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, at least line up on Route 1 and wave to them, because it’s going to be a beautiful, historic event,” Sabrin said.

The caravan will also make stops in Fairfield at around noon Wednesday and in Darien at about 3 p.m. that day, according to Wreaths Across America.

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