USPTO Military Association (UMA) Holds Annual Memorial Day Tribute

On Tuesday, May 22 the USPTO Military Association (UMA) hosted a tribute to fallen heroes. UMA president Amber Ostrup served as emcee. Chief Administrative Officer Fred Steckler, a U.S. Navy veteran, provided opening remarks.

The event began with a performance of patriotic songs and military hymns by the USPTO’s Patenteers choral group. TC 2400’s Aretha Grayson, a U.S. Army veteran, provided a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.Many were moved to tears as keynote speaker Karen Worcester, co-founder of the national non-profit Wreaths Across America (WAA) shared stories from the countless Gold Star Families she has met in her years running the organization. “It’s been said that every person actually dies twice,” said Worcester. “Once when we take our last breath, and once more the last time our name is ever said aloud, and we are forgotten.”

The UMA honored Worcester with their Man in the Arena award. A reference to a famous Theodore Roosevelt speech, the award honors those who demonstrate great character through acts of service. Here full remarks will be posted here when available.

The ceremony concluded with a moment of silence, followed by a rendition of Amazing Grace on bagpipes, and the notes of Taps echoing through the atrium.

Worcester co-founded WAA in 2007. The national nonprofit organization continues and expands the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun in 1992 by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester. WAA’s mission — Remember, Honor, Teach — is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington, as well as at veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. As Director of Wreaths Across America, Worcester tenaciously works on ways the organization can best remember the fallen, honor those who serve or have served, and teach children that freedoms are purchased at a great cost. Learn more about WAA here.

The USPTO Military Association (UMA) is a USPTO affinity group and 501(c)(3) non-profit charity whose mission is to provide fellowship, mentorship, and support for military veterans working at the USPTO, and to help educate others on the important contributions that veterans have made—and continue to make—to the workforce and our nation. Membership is open to all USPTO employees, and prior military service is not required. Contact the UMA for more information at

Reprinted with permission of the USPTO Weekly.