This Earth Day, April 22, 2017, is a special day for the families and friends of the 326 fallen EOD technicians who were killed in action, while carrying out an EOD mission. The public is invited to attend a Veterans Remembrance Tree dedication at the Wreaths Across America balsam tip land, where 326 live trees will be tagged as a living memorial to each individual fallen EOD warrior. Wreaths Across America, an organization whose mission is to Remember, Honor and Teach about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans will be dedicating an entire section of tip land to the EOD Warrior Foundation. A dog tag will be placed on individual trees in memory of each of the 326 fallen EOD warriors and every third year the branches of these trees will be tipped to make the remembrance wreaths that are placed on the headstones of fallen veterans across the country as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.
“This endless forest is a truly visual representation of our unwavering commitment to our mission to remember, honor and teach and to recognize our fallen veterans and families this year and for many years to come,” says Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.
The dedication ceremony is free to attend and open to the public. Those who attend are invited to meet at Wreaths Across America headquarters located 4 Point Street in Columbia Falls, Maine, at 8 a.m., where group transportation will be provided. At 9 a.m., there will be travel to the tip land chapel for coffee, donuts, and a brief service by the chaplain. The tree dedication and ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., and lunch will follow the ceremony. Those flying in for the event will find the nearest airport is Bangor International Airport.
Any military families can have a tree tagged as a memorial to their loved one free of charge. The EOD Warrior Foundation was excited for an opportunity to commemorate their 326 fallen EOD warriors in this unique way, with a true living memorial to remember each man and woman who has died. When trees are dedicated to a fallen military member, a dog tag with their name and a red, white and blue ribbon is placed on the tree. Families are allowed to walk the grounds and choose the tree to become the memorial.
Earth Day, April 22nd, is a movement that is recognized by over a billion people around the world in 192 countries. The holiday was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. With half of the world’s forests now gone, many people are working to preserve the trees and forests that remain. Having the Wreaths Across America dedication on Earth Day is fitting. These trees are never cut down, rather they are trimmed every few years allowing the trees, and the legacy of the fallen warrior they represent, to live on.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Wreaths Across America,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “This is going to be a beautiful and touching ceremony to honor our 326 fallen EOD Warriors. It is open to the public, and we hope people will join us on April 22nd to show their support for these deserving warriors and their families.”
Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization with a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. Each December, the group honors fallen veterans at over 1,200 locations around the country, where volunteers place wreaths on military headstones, which are sponsored by the community.
EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) technicians are highly trained military members serving in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force and are responsible for disarming, rendering safe, and disposing of bombs. There are approximately 7,000 active duty and over 20,000 veteran members of our military who perform this job, one of the most dangerous in the military. The EOD Warrior Foundation helps this elite group by providing financial relief, therapeutic healing retreats, a scholarship program, care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. and more. Their work is supported by private donations and the generosity of those who support the organization. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.