AUGUSTA, Maine (AP/WJZ) — A tractor-trailer caravan loaded down with more than a quarter of a million balsam wreaths is on its way to the nation’s most hallowed ground, Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty U.S. service members, veterans and their families.

The “Wreaths Across America” convoy departed Saturday from Columbia Falls, Maine, where the wreaths are made, and will stop at schools, memorials and veteran group gatherings along the 740-mile journey to Arlington, Virginia.

The tradition began when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery. Since then, it’s grown each year.

The organization is hoping to place 253,000 there next Saturday, while simultaneously placing a total of 1.8 million at a total of 1600 Cemetery around the nation.

The wreaths are set to arrive on Dec. 15 at the national cemetery, where volunteers will place the greenery on headstones.

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