Arlington, Va. – Only a week ago, the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation had only 80,000 flowers to place for its annual floral tribute at Arlington National Cemetery. Thanks to funding and donations the Foundation will bring a record-breaking 250,000 flowers to the cemetery, which will be enough to honor about 70% of the gravesites.
“We are so grateful to the American public and the generosity of our floral importers, who are literally donating thousands of flowers by the pallet, to ensure our fallen military heroes are honored this year,” said Ramiro Penaherrera, the executive director of the Foundation. “This outpouring of support shows the patriotic spirit of so many Americans. Many of the floral importers donating flowers are immigrants to the United States who are grateful for this nation and the freedoms it offers.”
For the Foundation, 250,000 flowers is a record, topping the 220,000 flowers it brought in 2019.
This large volume of flowers, however, is creating a new logistical challenge. “We need additional volunteers on Sunday to help! You are needed to visit gravesites throughout the cemetery and place flowers. This is an excellent way to honor our fallen troops and veterans for Memorial Day,” said Penaherrera.
The Foundation is also supporting the second annual Flowers of Remembrance Day event at the cemetery and is donating flowers for the public to place in tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This extraordinary event allows the public to place flowers and pay their respects at the Tomb on Sunday, May 28, 2023 from 9am-5pm. After visiting the Tomb, the public can get flowers to place in tribute on gravesites in the cemetery.
Anyone in the DC metro area can volunteer on Sunday, May 28 from 9am-5pm by coming to Arlington National Cemetery. Sign up is not required but does help organizers. Please sign up at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flowers-of-remembrance-day-2023-tickets-579673327527
If volunteering please remember:
- Bring government-issued photo identification as you will need to pass through security when entering the cemetery.
- Drink lots of water and use sunscreen.
- Wear comfortable shoes as you may need to walk a distance.
When placing a flower at a headstone in tribute, pause to read the name and details. Recite the name to yourself and place the flower in the grass in front of the headstone (where it can be mulched into the grass later when mowers come through) and not on the headstone.
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.
The Foundation has brought flowers to Arlington National Cemetery every year since 2011 for Memorial Day. You can learn more at memorialdayflowers.org
MEDIA COVERAGE SLOTS – SUNDAY, MAY 28
On Sunday, May 28th, Arlington National Cemetery is allowing media to get footage of the public placing flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 9:30am, 10:30am and 11:30am. Media must register by 9 a.m.on Friday, May 26 by sending an email to email@example.com with the following information: full name, media organization, photo or video, contact phone and email address, as well as time slot requested.
MEDIA CONTACT (MEMORIAL DAY FLOWERS FOUNDATION): Media seeking interviews with the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation should call Ami Neiberger, 703-887-4877, firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and video available by request. All interviews must be done outside the gates of Arlington National Cemetery, per cemetery policy.
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 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 www.memorialdayflowers.org and on Twitter and Instagram.