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Memorial Day Flowers Foundation expands tribute program

Thanks to individual, floral and non-floral industry support, the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation is expanding its flower tribute program this year to 16 national cemeteries. The California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers is the lead sponsor at six West Coast and Midwest cemeteries, while TD Bank is the lead sponsor at six East Coast cemeteries.  

An estimated 800 volunteers will place roses at 180,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery during Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29. In addition, all Arlington National Cemetery visitors will receive free focals — single floral stems — to honor interred loved ones.  

At the time of this writing, Armellini Logistics, SoleFarms, The Queens Group, FedEx, Under Armour, Chrysal, Ball SB, Centurian, Cargo Master, Navy Federal, Murzan, Squire Patton Boggs, Asocolflores, CalFlowers and ProEcuador are all major underwriters of the Arlington National Cemeteru event. And though farms and importers continue to donate product to the Arlington event, local sponsors cover the flowers and logistics at all other cemeteries.

RallyPoint.com, an online network for service members and veterans, recently launched the #FlowerOnEveryGrave campaign for Memorial Day 2017. This national effort is focused on encouraging service members, veterans and civilians alike to visit their local cemetery on Memorial Day, and place at least one rose on a fallen service member’s grave, according to a news release.

“Memorial Day is about remembering those who’ve paid the ultimate price,” said Dave Gowel, RallyPoint’s chief executive officer and an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in the release. “We can think of no better way to celebrate the holiday than to bring together service members, veterans, veteran service organizations, great companies and supportive Americans to honor the sacrifices of America’s fallen service members by laying a rose on a grave.”

RallyPoint will work with its network of 1.1 million service members and veterans to help coordinate volunteer efforts across the country, starting with Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Those unable to visit a cemetery on Memorial Day can donate to help the cornerstone effort of the #FlowerOnEveryGrave initiative.

Volunteers can visit remember.rallypoint.com/flowers to sign up to participate or to donate. After indicating the state in which they live, they will be provided with information to get involved in laying roses on service members’ graves at their local cemeteries on Memorial Day.

RallyPoint has teamed up with nonprofit the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation to lay a rose on every one of the 300,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for the first time ever. Supporters can make donations as small as $5 to help fund this effort.

While RallyPoint brings broad reach and scale that carries this message over digital airwaves, the small, dedicated team at the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation has been leading the charge on the ground since 2011. Last year, the foundation coordinated 500 volunteers who handed out and placed 140,000 roses and other flowers on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

“We’re excited to partner with RallyPoint to lay a rose on every single grave at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day,” said Johan Sohn, director of the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation. “Our team has done an incredible job of raising funds and awareness for this great cause over the past few years, and RallyPoint’s new #FlowerOnEveryGrave campaign will help scale this effort and attract more national attention.”

For more information, visit www.memorialdayflowers.org.