Here's Karen Worcester to tell you more:
I watched my friend Sir Stanley closely as he spoke of his time as a POW. He is a hero of mine. His manner is strong, kind and knowing. He has seen much in his 86 years and I tend to hang on his every word. I love to listen to his stories. He often addresses me personally and his speaking my name draws me into the story even deeper.To place all the wreaths this year it will take a lot of hands and a lot of hearts. Planning has to start earlier than ever to make it a reality. If you have connections with a corporation, group, or organization that would like to help us get started - please contact Wreaths Across America HQ.
My name is Karen Worcester of Wreaths Across America and this particular day we had been discussing the fact that we have been given permission in 2011 to cover all of the 330000+ graves at Arlington. He was visibly pleased. Then he in a matter of fact way, he shared a story that changed my life.
He was a young man far from home engaged in the now famous “Battle of the Bulge.” He describes how cold it was there in the Ardennes Forest. When his division was forced to surrender to the Germans, Corporal Wojtusik and a couple others managed to escape only to be captured shortly there-after.
Then on Christmas Eve 1944, he huddled with hundreds of other POWs in 3 box cars. The train was carrying the prisoners, but was not marked as required by the Geneva Convention. So in the middle of the war, they came under friendly fire by the allies.
Stanley shared, “You could hear the cars and men being hit, and the screaming. Here we were, we couldn’t run or even move. It was Christmas Eve. What else could we do? So we all joined hands and sang Silent Night - to comfort one another in that terrible time. Everyone in the other two cars were killed that night, yet ours was spared.”
Then Sir Stanley shared these words - “You know Karen, that became known as the Christmas they never Had.”
I started to cry, and frankly am crying now as I write this. I promised my friend and hero that I, that we, would do all we could do to make sure they never missed another Christmas. We decided right then and there, to make this our theme for 2011 - the 20th anniversary of wreaths being placed at Arlington during the holidays.
A couple days later, in an emotional pitch to another friend and veteran, I shared Sir Stanley’s story. This friend - a Vietnam veteran, always so stoic let down his guard, and with tears running down his cheeks told of the Christmas he never had while in the jungle of Vietnam.
I hope you will join us in 2011 as we make it our mission to give "The Christmas they Never Had." Not only for the 20th anniverary of wreaths going to Arlington National Cemetery, but for the thousands of WWII veterans who we lose each day - to let them know one final time that we will never forget.