With Memorial Day behind us now, I find myself flooded with emails detailing accounts of stories from sites across the country and the volunteers that participated. Overall, we distributed more than 103,000 stems to 84 locations in 26 states that honored people who have served our country, and we recognized the ones left behind that continue to carry the burden of these sacrifices. It is truly incredible how many people we have touched with flowers this weekend. I could not begin to count the number of people crying in my arms while they thanked me and it all seems so reversed. A few simple stems meant so much to each of them. The encounters happened very quickly however, and even without knowing the person or anything about them, the gravity was so huge you could not help but become pulled in.
I presented a few stems to a women name Sally in a wheel chair and offered to help her get out to visit the grave. She thanked me again and again and said she had already been out to each site earlier in the morning. I replied with, “each site, so you have two family members here?” She then informed me that she has two husbands buried there. “I came out early so I could take care of them to find that you good people already honored each of them better than I could possibly do. God bless you all,” as she cried sitting in the shade of a tree for a few hours.
Next was a man with two small girls, who were maybe 4 and 6. They came back many times to take more flowers out to place stems on head stones that we did not reach. Their dad, Mike, asked me if it was ok and told me his girls wanted to make sure others had flowers on their stones. As I gave the girls flowers, I told them they were doing something very nice for others. The one girl replied with, “Yes, we want them all to look like our mom’s.”
A service women came up to me in full uniform with several metals. She struggled to get the words out to ask if she could have four roses. As I was getting the roses she was thanking me for what we were doing. I responded that we are privileged to do this and you’re welcome to have as many as you need. She broke down crying after a moment and said, “no thank you, there were only five of us out that day.”
Anyone that thinks this is just about giving out flowers is grossly mistaken. I am not sure I will ever be able to accurately communicate in words what took place. I would like to thank all of the volunteers and retailers that participated. I would also like to extend thanks to our partners at Centurion Air Cargo, Lynx-Global, Armellini Industries, Prime Trucking, Florida Beauty and a number of wholesalers that overlooked competitive issues to make this event possible. Finally, I would like to express my thanks to our co-organizer, Flowers for Kids who organized all of the farms, marketing products and volunteers. We could not have done it without them as our partner. In closing, we at the DVFG and it’s participating divisions feel incredibly privileged to be a part of this event honoring great Americans.