Arlington, Va. – Memorial Day may be billed as the start of summertime fun and sales, but for many people, the holiday holds a deeper meaning. Since 2011, the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation has placed roses to honor fallen service members and veterans at Arlington National Cemetery, and in the last two years, the project has expanded to several other cemeteries.
You can donate flowers to honor our veterans and late service members, as well as volunteer to place flowers at participating cemeteries, through www.MemorialDayFlowers.org.
Participating cemeteries include: Arlington National Cemetery (Virginia), Fort Snelling National Cemetery (Minnesota), Houston National Cemetery (Texas), Sacramento Valley National Cemetery (California), San Francisco (California), Washington Crossing (Pennsylvania), Miramar (California), South Florida, Jacksonville (Florida), Beaufort (South Carolina), Arizona, Southern Maine, Long Island (New York), New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Fort Jackson (South Carolina), Lancaster Cemetery (Pennsylvania).
Last year, 191 retail florists and main street businesses handed out roses from their shops to the public for placement in cemeteries across the country to honor fallen service members and late veterans. This year, for $250, retailers receive 250 high-quality roses, 10 flower food sachets, 250 handouts with sponsor information, and a large Memorial Day Flowers Foundation banner. Orders are due by May 12, 2017 for this year’s event on Memorial Day (Monday, May 29,2017) and can be placed online.
Eight cemeteries participated last year and 240,000 floral tributes were placed to honor our fallen service members and veterans. But organizers say more needs to be done.
“We were thrilled to place as many flowers as we did last year, but every year, thousands of veterans’ gravesites go unvisited and unrecognized on Memorial Day – the national day to honor our fallen troops and decorate their gravesites,” said Johan Sohn, the co-director of the foundation.
Sohn said that anyone can sponsor roses for gravesites at participating cemeteries. A $10 Donation places a Rose and Flower Tribute at 12 Arlington National Cemetery gravesites. A $100 sponsorship provides a bucket of 125 roses to be placed by a volunteer.
Flower growers from Colombia, Ecuador, California, and Ethiopia donate some of the flowers for the Arlington National Cemetery event. The event is widely supported across the floral industry, but more support is needed.
“Due to the growing season this year and the calendar – with Mother’s Day so close to Memorial Day – we will receive fewer donated flowers this year,” said Sohn. “We need additional support to bring in more flowers.”
The organization has partnered with RallyPoint for a campaign to place a #FlowerOnEveryGrave. More donations and volunteers are needed. You can sign up to volunteer or donate at www.MemorialDayFlowers.org.
On Sunday, May 28th, more than 600 volunteers from the D.C. area, including Boy Scouts, will honor fallen troops, by placing 130,000 roses at headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. They will also distribute flowers at the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors Center and to families at section 60 on Memorial Day.
ABOUT THE MEMORIAL DAY FLOWERS FOUNDATION
The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation began in 2011 after U.S. citizens working in the floral industry wanted to do something to express their patriotism and profound appreciation for the sacrifices made by America’s military men and women. They began with placing 10,000 roses at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day in 2011. They continue to work with Arlington National Cemetery to place roses annually for Memorial Day, and have expanded their efforts with the help of volunteers and local businesses to select veterans’ cemeteries around the country. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. More information is available at www.memorialdayflowers.org, on Facebook, and on Twittter @MemDayFlowers
Photos/Media Contact for the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation: Ami Neiberger-Miller, 703-887-4877, ami@steppingstoneLLC.com.
April 27, 2017