Kennebunk Elementary School second-grade students Isabella Graczyk, Vincent Tracy, Eli Gironda and Willow Langdon receive guidance from Wreaths Across America event coordinator Kelly Hinkle, who led a lesson about wreath-making and veterans at the school on Friday. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK – Second-grade students learned how to make wreaths and learned a bit about veterans on Friday when Wreaths Across America paid a visit to Kennebunk Elementary School.

Founded in 2007, Wreaths Across America, based in Columbia Falls, honors the nation’s deceased veterans annually at Arlington National Cemetery, when volunteers place wreaths on their graves. As well, volunteer groups place wreaths on veterans graves in cemeteries across the country.

The Wreaths Across America mission is “Remember, Honor, Teach.”

Fragrant balsam wreaths were crafted by students at Kennebunk Elementary School on Friday as part of the Wreaths Across America program. Tammy Wells Photo

On Friday, KES students learned about veterans’ wreaths, and WAA’s list of 10 special qualities veterans embody: belief in a greater good; love for each other; strength, work ethic and character; honesty and integrity; humility, selflessness and modesty; their ambitions and aspirations; their optimism for America; their concern for the future; pride in their duties and hopes and dreams that didn’t always come true, but left them with no regrets.

The little ones, in groups of 13, each lined up to add a balsam bouquet to the wreath frame in front of them.

Wreaths Across America event coordinator Kelly Hinkle said visiting schools and guiding the hands-on piece with students is fun.


This was the second year the wreath-making event has come to KES.

“I’m really excited,” Principal Ryan Flynn told the youngsters. “You get to take part in something that is really special.”

They eagerly lined up, placed a balsam bouquet in the round wreath frame and tightening it in. As the lessons progressed, each child was able to place a bouquet.

At the end, their teachers added the bows.

The 13 wreaths made by students will be part of the Wreaths Across America program, placed on veterans graves at Arlington National Cemetery or one of the other cemeteries where veterans are honored, on Dec. 14.

The Wreaths Across America convoy commences Dec. 7 with a sunrise service at West Quoddy Head, in Lubec, and, after a full day of events, will depart Narraguagus High School in Harrington on Dec. 8, making stops along the way. On Dec. 9, the convoy will stop for a ceremony at Thornton Academy in Saco at 10 a.m. The convoy will make its way to Virginia, arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 14.

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