Sophomore Jon Cassidy and some teammates from the Georgetown football team will participate in Wreaths Across America on Saturday.
Dec. 14, 2007
Washington, D.C. - All Georgetown University sophomore football player Jon Cassidy (Alton Bay, N.H./St. John's Prep) really wanted to do was help out.
He received a phone call from his mother, Margaret, who was watching a television show about a group of people who brought wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. She was touched by the show and called her son, who was just finishing up his season with the Hoyas.
Cassidy, a linebacker who appeared in seven games and 23 tackles this season, liked the idea, too. His mother called the headquarters for Wreaths Across America, based in Harrington, Maine, and asked what needed to be done to have her son participate. The contact at Wreaths Across America said they could use all the help they could get and that Cassidy should "bring his football team."
So that is what he is doing.
Cassidy wasn't sure how many of his teammates would participate because of final exams, but he created an event on an internet message board and invited some of his friends to come out and help.
"I thought that doing it during finals wouldn't be that well-received, but I was surprised that many people really wanted to do this as well," Cassidy said. "So then I dropped an e-mail to our coaches to see if we could wear our jerseys. I didn't expect them to come through like they have, but they've been great and have helped to spread this idea through e-mails and getting more people to come."
Cassidy now has at least 20 of his teammates, along with other friends, heading over to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday morning to participate.
"I hope it's seen as a good gesture to represent the men and women who have given so much and expected so little in return," Cassidy said.
Wreaths Across America began in 1992 with a trailer load of wreaths, decorated by volunteers and laid at the graves of fallen soldiers. The new mission of the organization is to "Remember - Honor - and Teach" the value of freedom in the world today.
The group was founded by Morrill and Karne Worcester, residents of Maine. They hoped to bring children and veterans together, as the "ideal way of expressing appreciation for the past, present and future sacrifices our Veterans (and their families) make for this country."
Cassidy himself has a cousin in the reserves in California who is slated to be shipped overseas in February. "We wish him the best and hope he returns safely," Cassidy said. "My father flew in Desert Storm, so I understand the sacrifices people make. I think this is just a small way for me and my friends to show our respects to veterans not only of past wars, but for those people who are fighting overseas today."
Cassidy's father, Mark, created a web page for his son and his teammates, which can be seen at http://www.wreaths-across-america.org/hoyas-pitch-in.html.
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