OLD SAYBROOK – For the eighth consecutive year, Old Saybrook has had the honor of being a stop for the Wreaths Across America convoy, which delivers more than 70,000 wreaths to veterans' graves in Arlington National Cemetery.
“It's emotional for me,” said Bill Fagan, the commander for the Old Saybrook VFW. “It makes me think about my seven brothers that died over there,” he said while speaking about Vietnam.
Among the drivers of the dozen big rigs, which are packed with approximately 3,500 wreaths each, is a man named Scott Harris, from Maine. The trailer he is towing features a picture of his son.
“Dustin James Harris, specialist, U.S. Army,” Scott Harris proudly says.
Dustin Harris was a senior in high school when the World Trade Centers collapsed on September 11, 2001.
“From that point on, he pretty much had made up his mind that he was going to be a soldier and he was going to fight for his country,” said Scott Harris
Then, Scott and Lorna Harris received the call parents dread.
“On April 6, of 2006, he was in the gunner position on a Humvee and they hit an explosive device,” said Scott Harris.
When this delivery’s done, Harris turns the trailer in. But he’s a trucker by trade and has one wish: “I'm going up-and-down the road myself, with my own unit and in my own trailer, I'll be looking across some day and I'm gonna see Dustin going by,” he said with a smile.
He and his wife are Wreaths Across America volunteer drivers for the fifth time, but they have more motivation than just keeping their son’s name alive.
“It’s also my way of giving back to all of the others, who have fought for our beautiful country that we live in,” said Scott Harris.
There are about 70,000 wreaths part of this convoy, but other trucks will be meeting them in Arlington.
“241,000 will be going to Arlington,” said Morrill Worcester, founder of Wreaths Across America.
“If anyone has ever been to Arlington after they actually set these wreaths, it takes your breath away,” Bill Young, a Vietnam veteran, said just prior to greeting the convoy in Old Saybrook.
Across the country, nearly one million wreaths will be placed on veterans' graves this Saturday, which is National Wreaths Across America Day. Every $15 contribution pays for a wreath to honor a veteran. To learn more about the organization click here.