Funding Needed for Memorial Day Floral Tribute at Arlington National Cemetery

Funding Needed for Memorial Day Floral Tribute at Arlington National Cemetery
Memorial Day Flowers Foundation says fundraising this year has been tough and absent a surge in donations before May 22, the Foundation will have only 50,000 flowers to place to honor fallen troops.

Arlington, Va. – It’s a Memorial Day tradition that stretches back to the 1800s – the placing of flowers to honor our fallen military service members for Memorial Day. And it’s become a beloved D.C. tradition as well, with thousands of flowers being placed annually at Arlington National Cemetery. 

But this year, the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation says its typical donation sources for funding and donated flowers have dried up, and the Foundation needs to raise funds before May 22nd to cover the cost of purchasing 250,000 flowers on the wholesale market.

The Foundation has secured about 50,000 flowers for its tribute at Arlington National Cemetery this year, but that’s a far cry from the 220,000 it has brought in the past, and far short of the 300,000 stems needed to honor every gravesite at our nation’s most hallowed burial ground for fallen service men and women.

“We have brought flowers to Arlington National Cemetery every year since 2011 for Memorial Day, and it pains me to see our tribute so much smaller this year. Our goal is to honor every fallen service member and veteran headstone with a flower,” said Ramiro Penaherrera, the executive director of the Foundation. “We need to raise about $150,000 before May 22nd to cover the cost of purchasing 250,000  flowers at a wholesale price on the global flower market, and we can get transportation donated. We appreciate any support provided by the public.” 

Thanks to its long-standing ties to the floral industry, the Foundation can obtain flowers at wholesale rates and have them shipped in time for the Memorial Day holiday. The Foundation often receives last-minute donations of extra flowers not sold for Mother’s Day, but it cannot rely on these donations to ensure there are enough flowers for the Memorial Day tribute, due to other conditions in the global flower market that make in-kind donations harder to obtain.

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The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation began in 2011 after U.S. citizens working in the floral industry wanted 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 flowers annually for Memorial Day and have expanded their efforts with the help of donors, volunteers and businesses to cemeteries around the country. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. More information is available at and on Twittter  @MemDayFlowers.