AUBURN, Mass. – If you were driving on Southbridge Street near the Auburn/Webster Lodge of Elks around 6 p.m. Monday, you might have been confused seeing a convoy of trucks getting escorted by state police cruisers. But that’s what happens when Auburn has a strong commitment to honoring veterans.
The Wreaths Across America convoy of 10 trucks pulled into the Elks Lodge Monday night for the second straight year. This group of veterans, Gold Star Mothers, friends and supporters honored the town again with a stopover on the way to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where they will lay thousands of wreaths.
“It speaks volumes on the hominess of the town of Auburn that they wanted to come back,” said Larry Corbin, director of veterans services in Auburn. “They don’t come back to the same town the year after. They go to different towns, but the town of Auburn gave them such a warm welcome last year and they wanted to return.
“It’s a great opportunity to remember our fallen brothers and sisters and say thanks to the ones who have served us,” Corbin added. “And thank you to the ones who are serving us today.”
Selectmen Kenneth Holstrom, whose parents served in World War II and father-in-law in Korea, said the convoy’s second visit says a lot about Auburn.
“For the convoy to come back, it puts Auburn on the map and shows that we are dedicated and appreciate the veterans from the past and present,” Holstrom said. “It’s great to remember our veterans. We do as well as we do today because of them.”
The convoy donated five wreaths, which will be laid along Veterans Memorial Corridor in Auburn by members of the Vietnam Veterans Association 554. Corbin said the wreaths will be placed at the Kusy Memorial, World War II Memorial, World War I Memorial and the corridor entrance statues. He said the wreaths will be there until spring.
In addition to greeting the convoy, the public packed into the Elks Lodge for a ziti and meatballs feast.
The Wreaths Across America convoy will make it to Arlington National Cemetery by the weekend, laying wreaths on Saturday, Dec. 15. The group decorates every grave in Arlington, with the support of many volunteers, in one day. All wreaths are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. in Maine.