Memorial Day Flowers Foundation says fundraising this year has been tough and absent a surge in donations before May 24, the Foundation will have only 80,000 flowers to place to honor fallen troops when it needs 310,000
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 24th to cover the cost of purchasing 230,000 flowers on the wholesale market.
The Foundation has secured about 80,000 flowers for its tribute at Arlington National Cemetery this year, but that’s a far cry from the 220,000 stems it has brought in the past, and far short of the 310,000 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 24th to cover the cost of purchasing 230,000 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.
Volunteers are also needed for Flowers of Remembrance Day on Sunday, May 28, 9am-5pm, at Arlington National Cemetery. Flowers will be placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and later in the cemetery. Flowers of Remembrance Day pays homage to the first official, national Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day. This ceremony first took place at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, to honor U.S. service members who died in the Civil War.
You can donate at: https://memorialdayflowers.org/donate/