We wanted to share with you some of the stories and pictures we received from customers who participated in the Memorial Day Flowers Flowers event. Read on to get a feel for how thousands of flowers were used to honor our U.S. service men and women who are no longer with us.
Intimo of Portland, OR
Intimo is an event florist. We have been in business for 2 years, though I have been a florist for 18 years. I started the company because I wanted to be part of a business that made people feel good. We are committed to doing our best to make every client feel absolutely special from start to finish. I used to work as a corporate coach and decided life was too short to be stressed out all the time. My employees love that the only rule I have is – No Stress. If we aren’t having fun – then I make sure we stop and bring it back.
I was raised by my Grandfather, an Army Colonel who died from cancer that was from being doused in Agent Orange as he fought in the front line of the Vietnam – his third war after WWII and Korea. I spent many holidays with him in military hospitals and have never seen illness like the people in VA’s.
When I contacted Jake and Amy at the Portland Flower Market – I knew I wanted to follow in the tradition of my Grandfather who always said to honor the dead and celebrate the living. I was thrilled when I was selected to receive the flowers. I made arrangements with the VA Hospital in Portland and delivered a rose to every single person who was hospitalized, receiving dialysis, was in the ER, or was a member of the military and working on Memorial Day. On each flower was a note attached about the importance in remembering the fallen heroes of the world. Because the people in the hospital could not attend ceremonies and family BBQ’s, the flowers were intended for them to use in their own personal way to take a moment to honor the fallen and also honor the fact that they were too ill to participate.
On many floors of the hospital, the nurses gave the roses to people in the rooms. On the dialysis floor and in the ER, people were eager to talk to the “ladies with the roses.” Many men were reluctant to receive them, but as soon as I refused to take no as an answer – smiles broke loose. In the ER were two gentlemen who I’m sure were terminal. One refused, but I noticed a ladies jacket on the chair beside him. I asked if it was his wife’s and he said yes. I asked if he thought she would like one and he lit up. I know he was in a lot of pain. I handed it to him as his wife walked in and he gave it to her. The tenderness and love, I will never forget it. Another gentleman, who was very ill, said he didn’t want one because he had no one to give it to. I said it was him to have something prettier than the boring room he was in. We talked for a good while about his life. He talked a lot about his coming death. When a nurse walked in and asked where he got the rose, he said it was for her. He was a big flirt. She lit up and gladly took it. I left him a small pile of roses to give to the ladies and I could tell the rest of his day would be full of flirting. We hope it made a difference.
Sadly only one volunteer showed up to help me, but the difference the event made for her was tremendous. She has a son who has been unable to cope with his PTSD and is currently homeless and goes missing for long periods of time. No matter how hard she has sought treatment for him, it just hasn’t been successful. For her, her son is a fallen hero becasue his time took him away, but left his body. Being able to celebrate in a way not linked to cemeteries meant the world to her.
In the end we had about 50 roses left, so I walked to the nearest cemetery with our wagon and mascot, Winston. At first I started decorating graves without flowers, but decided since there were many more graves than I had flowers for I would rather leave them for families so that they could have a more personal experience. The cemetery had a station set up with tools, snacks, and flags for people to use. The volunteers were overjoyed to have a bucket of roses to add to what they offered. A couple families took flowers while I was there and were overjoyed to have something to make the day more meaningful. It was touching to watch a young boy learn about the meaning of Memorial Day from his Grandmother.
My only regret in the day was not having enough time to let people know they could participate and volunteer and also that I did not get many photos. Next year – with or without the support of Mayesh, I will deliver flowers to the VA again. They had never received a donation like it. The staff were moved beyond words and the heroes spending the day there appreciated the gesture tremendously.
The Flower Lady of Phoenix, Arizona
“In recognition of the sacrifices made by members of the United States Armed Forces, and volunteering our time on behalf of the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation, my sisters and I arrived at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, in Phoenix, a little before 7 a.m. on the holiday. With roses, a banner and brochures provided by the Foundation, plus additional roses provided by private donors, we distributed over 380 long-stemmed roses to persons who were attending the 2015 Memorial Day Ceremony. And, with additional flowers donated by Mayesh Phoenix, we also distributed 35 vases filled with bouquets of mixed flowers.
When I say this was an emotional endeavor, that is an understatement, as many of the attendees who accepted these flowers were brought to tears, many wanted to give us hugs, and many more stood up straighter with pride … smiling and telling us how they would then place the flowers at the burial site of their parent, grandparent, brother, sister, spouse ….
Before we left the cemetery, we took a few minutes to visit a grave site which was personal for us, and we had the privilege of placing a rose next to our friend’s marker to honor his service. While we were doing that, we were thrilled to watch the Primary Trainer Squadron of the Arizona Antique Airplane Association as they performed a missing man formation overhead with their bi-planes.
On behalf of my sisters who worked with me, Sandra Smith and Susan Chatterjee, and myself, I would like to thank my floral supplier, Mayesh, for providing us with the opportunity to volunteer on behalf of the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation. Belonging to a family with many members who have served (and are still actively serving) in the military, including our late father (a Marine who fought for Iwo Jima), and our late brother (an Army helicopter crew chief who served 2 tours in Viet Nam), it was our true honor and privilege to give a little bit of our time to support this wonderful event.”
Hilary’s Flowers of El Segundo, CA
“Since my sons Boy Scout troop travels to Kern River over Memorial Day, we have taken the roses with us and donated them to the Kern Valley Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony, for the last two years.
They are so happy we have been giving them these beautiful roses.
I also set some aside for the woman’s groups that help out with the ceremony the Woman’s Auxiliary and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
We did 4 large arrangements of red roses to go into their large urns at the Veteran’s wall.
I was also able to donate 2 smaller arrangements to the El Segundo United Methodist Church for their Memorial day service this year. This is our Troops sponsor in El Segundo so it seemed fitting.
After the ceremony at the cemetery they will take the flowers to two assisted living homes and two other local gathering places in town for everyone to enjoy.”
The Tulip Tree of Glendale, AZ
“A friend took her 8 children and distributed flowers there, we took 96 bud vases to the VA Care Home on Indian School and 3rd Street. One of the vets sang “Some Enchanted Evening” to us. One lady vet (WWII) I spoke to for quite a while, was crying, red roses are her favorite flower, her husband (who was also a vet) always gave them to her. She asked me if I thought someone would place flowers and a flag on her husband’s grave since she was unable to get there (he is buried in the VA Cemetery at Chapel Hill). I told her florists across the U.S. were going to different cemeteries, and flags were definitely placed on all military graves.
Thanks to the farm and Mayesh for helping us to participate on this day.”
Boulder City Florist of Las Vegas, NV
We went to the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery The lady with the pictures lost her fiancé in WWII Everyone loved the roses Please like my Facebook Boulder City Florist And you will see more Thank you so much Kris Thompson