American Trucking Associations (ATA) and ATA’s Share the Road Highway Safety Program celebrated the arrival of the Wreaths Across America convoy at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The trucking industry believes wholeheartedly in remembering those who have served our country and protected our freedoms,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Truck drivers throughout the country, many of whom are veterans themselves, are some of the most patriotic individuals you can find, so we’re honored that our industry and the Share the Road program can salute America’s fallen heroes as part of Wreaths Across America.”
Share the Road professional truck drivers Ralph Garcia and Nate McCarty drove the program’s truck from the wreath loading dock in Maine to Arlington, Virginia. Along the way, the drivers participated in engaging education sessions for local students and communities to learn about the trucking industry’s importance to the economy and the need to honor the nation’s heroes.
“I set out this week to honor my father, a Green Beret, and carried his hat with us to every ceremony,” said Garcia of ABF Freight. “We’ve been amazed, though, to meet so many people and hear countless stories of bravery and sacrifice, just like my father’s. This will be a very memorable trip for me.”
This year, Wreaths Across America delivered more than one million wreaths to veterans’ graves throughout the globe. Spear, alongside his family and dozens of ATA employees, distributed a portion of the 3,500 wreaths delivered by the Share the Road tractor-trailer.
The Share the Road drivers chronicled their trip with videos and photos on Share the Road’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Chris Kinnard, a Gold Star Wife, was one of several guests hosted by the drivers during the trip to Arlington. She shared her husband’s story of sacrifice during the Vietnam War in this short video. Social media followers were encouraged to interact with the drivers throughout the week, and all volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery are invited to meet the drivers during the wreath laying proceedings.
Last week, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) sponsored a resolution that was unanimously passed that designates December 17, 2016, as “Wreaths Across America Day.”
“Being a part of this trip is very special to me as a veteran and as a truck driver,” said McCarty of ABF Freight. “We’ve seen the trucking industry unite and honor America’s heroes in a way that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who takes part in it.”
Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks Inc., and supported by TA-Petro, Pre-Pass, Hyundai Translead, OmniTracs, SmartDrive, Mack Leasing and Bendix. Visit www.atastr.org and follow Share the Road on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Colton carries wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery during a previous Wreaths Across America event in Arlington, Virginia, on December 15, 2012.