- Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2015

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, once again participated in the annual Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

The wreaths were laid Saturday on the graves of soldiers who sacrificed their lives defending their country.

The tribute began quietly in Harrington, Maine, more than two decades ago, when Worcester Wreath Company founders Morrill and Karen Worcester decided to bring surplus wreaths to the Virginia cemetery. Their “Arlington Project” was a quiet, unheralded event until Internet stories in 2006 highlighted the project and stoked national interest.

A convoy of 12 trucks carrying nearly 250,000 wreaths left Maine Dec. 6 enroute to Arlington, where they were joined by hundreds of thousands of wreaths transported from throughout the United States.

The week-long trip stops at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities and gives the group an opportunity to promote the mission: “Remember, Honor and Teach.” For the last four years, Ann LePage travelled with the Wreaths Across American convoy from Maine.

“The placing of the wreaths in Arlington, and really the whole trip, is such a powerful experience,” she said. “I can’t thank Wreaths Across America enough for all they do to honor our veterans.”

Gov. LePage said the event “helps to show our nation what it means to be from Maine. This Maine-led commemorative convoy, now known as the world’s largest veterans parade, makes Ann and me proud to call Maine home.”

A wreath was also laid at the mast of the U.S.S. Maine monument in Arlington National Cemetery. The ship sustained an explosion and sank in Havana Harbor off Cuba in 1898 - an event that helped trigger the Spanish-American War.

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