Until you see it in person, it is hard to comprehend the scope of the massive convoy of escort police vehicles, vans, buses and tractor-trailer trucks that make up Wreaths Across America.

Spectators, many waving flags, arrived at Lincolnville Beach by 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, to await the arrival of the convoy. A full color guard of uniformed military veterans, along with two fire trucks, was there.

Just about on schedule at 3 p.m., the first police escort cruisers flashing their blue lights could be seen coming down the hill on Route 1, followed by many minivans bearing the Wreaths Across America logo.

The convoy is on its way to Arlington National Cemetery to lay Maine-made wreaths on the graves of our nation's veterans. This started in 1992, when Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, found himself with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Having visited Arlington on a trip he won as a boy when he had a paper route for the Bangor Daily News, Worcester decided he wanted to honor our veterans, according to the Wreaths Across America Facebook page.

"With the aid of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year," the page notes.

This became a quiet tradition until 2005, when a photo of the wreaths on the stones went viral on the internet.

"WAA's annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery has become known as the world’s largest veterans’ parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach."

In addition, the practice of laying the wreaths on the graves of veterans has spread all over the country.

In Lincolnville, the convoy stopped and presented four wreaths to veterans. One was laid at the cannon, while the other three honored members of the Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Navy lost at sea. During the ceremony at the bridge, the wreaths were committed to the water.

Abigail Hammond, 14, of Lincolnville played "Taps" on her trumpet.

The convoy’s grand marshals are Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon and his wife, Norma Donlon.

Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@villagesoup.com or 594-4401 ext. 122. Follow him on Twitter @DanDunkle.