Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
concerned citizens can change the world.
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead
I saw this quote on the blog “Soul Gatherings” . It was ironic because I had been casting about looking for a quote to illustrate the subject of this post, and it seemed to fit.
I consider myself a Mainer even though no one else does. That is because, in order to be a REAL Mainer, you and several generations before you had to be born here. I don’t know how far back you have to go to be official. I suspect it is just far enough that no one can remember. So, even though several of my ancestors are from Maine, I was born in Massachusetts and will therefore always be, in the local vernacular, “from away.” But that’s OK. I didn’t ask to be adopted. I just want to live here and share the experience.
Having been a resident in younger years and then having returned about ten years ago, I have found the people to be some of the most generous and friendly of all the places we have lived. You can go long periods without seeing or speaking with them, but if in need, they are there. Not blatantly, but unassumingly. After a particularly heavy snowstorm last year during which the snow plow had left a thirty inch drift at the foot of my driveway, I was surprised to see that, before I got out to snow blow my driveway, a neighbor had used his plow to push the drift to one side, leaving me only the easier driveway to clear. He did it for each house on the street on his way to work. An act of kindness, done in the spirit of giving because you can. One person, making a difference.
With that thought in mind, I can think of no better story to illustrate this innate sense of giving than that of the Worcester Wreath Company up in Harrington Maine. This is a company that provides the holiday greenery for L.L. Bean. Back in 1992, Morrill Worcester, the President of the company decided to decorate and provide wreaths to be laid at Arlington National Cemetery each Christmas to honor our fallen heroes, and has done so annually every year since. All are placed by volunteers. Last year over 110000 wreaths were donated. Until 2009, this was done without benefit of donations.
This is where the “small group of concerned citizens can change the world” part comes in. The gesture was so significant that it caught the interest of others that, like Mr Worcester, decided to embrace the commemoration. The wreath laying has expanded nationally. In 2010, the Wreaths Across America organization laid 220000 wreaths at 545 locations. A moment of silence is observed on Dec 14th at 12 noon EST, linking all the volunteers in spirit.
Concerned citizens. Changing the world. One wreath at a time. Thank you Mr Worcester. You make me proud to call myself a Mainer, even if I’m not, officially.