On Friday, Sept. 11, Wreaths Across America calls for every American to stand outside and wave a flag for one minute at 8:46 a.m. and then again at 9:03 a.m.
At 8:46 a.m., On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, five hijackers took control of American Airlines Flight 11 and flew it into the heart of New York City and the northern facade of the World Trade Center’s north tower.
At 9:03 a.m., five other hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the southern facade of the south tower.
Following the events of 9/11, three patriotic women (Elaine Greene, Joann Miller and Carmen Foote) were moved to find an old American flag they had stored at home and stand on a hill in Freeport, Maine, waving that flag to honor victims. These women became nationally known as “The Freeport Flag Ladies,” and proudly hoisted the Stars and Stripes every Tuesday morning for the following 18 years.
After they retired on Sept. 11, 2019, (their last 9/11 remembrance) the following Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, Wreaths Across America took the helm and continued the weekly flag-waving tradition along U.S. Route 1 in Jonesboro, Maine, on land donated by the organization’s founder, Morrill Worcester, leading to the new Acadia National Cemetery.
Since that time, Worcester has added a mile stretch of American flags (105 in total) on both sides of the road that lead to the entrance of Acadia National Cemetery which opened to the public for the first time Saturday, Aug. 29. Worcester also donated the land for this new National Cemetery to be built in his hometown.
“Each Tuesday, we are joined by dozens of members of the local community and curious people stopping to be part of something meaningful,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America and wife of Morrill Worcester. “Especially over the last six months, this flag waving has taken on new meaning for us all and given a spark of hope and patriotism during this difficult time in our country.”
Participants are encouraged to take video and pictures of their participation in the national flag waving and share them with Wreaths Across America, their family and their friends to help “Remember, Honor and Teach” the generation born after 9/11, how hard times can strengthen us as a nation. Use the hashtag #FlagsAcrosstheCountry and #AmericaStrong when posting on social media and tag the Wreaths Across America Facebook page.
“My husband and the community’s commitment to the mission and continuation of this important weekly tradition has taken on the additional meaning of American unity during this uncertain time,” said Karen. “I hope Americans will see this as an opportunity to not only honor those directly affected by 9/11, but also to follow in the footsteps of ‘The Freeport Flag Ladies.’
Wreaths Across America is the nonprofit organization best known for placing veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. However, the organization, in total, places more than 2 million sponsored wreaths at over 2,200 participating locations nationwide and offers other programs throughout the calendar year. These programs remember the events of 9/11 in their own way, such as The Mobile Education Exhibit, which will be visiting Kentucky and join in the national flag-waving effort. Radio host Michael W. Hale of Wreaths Across America Radio will hold on-air tributes, and the online store will be selling #AmericaStrong signs made by the brother of “Lone Survivor” Marcus Lutrell (who gave a special family message during the Wreaths Across America Virtual Concert now streaming on Showcase NOW).
The public can sponsor a wreath for $15 at wreathsacrossamerica.org. Each sponsorship goes toward a fresh balsam veteran’s wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as the group endeavors to honor all veterans laid to rest on Saturday, Dec. 19, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.