Our Mission Continues

An item from a fellow veterans organization in the Bay Area.


Greetings! I know it’s been a while since we last were in touch. We appreciate so much all that you have done with us. Whether you have given your time, supported our work by telling friends and family about the Foundation, or donated funds to help – we are truly grateful.

We started 2020 with high hopes. We aimed to hold Memorial Day events all over the country at cemeteries to place flowers to honor our fallen and their sacrifices, and to fully cover Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), our nation’s most sacred burial ground, with floral tributes.

And then COVID-19 happened. We could not hold events nationwide. Arlington National Cemetery closed completely to the public for months, admitting only family passholders and those attending funerals.

But our desire to honor our fallen was still there. Thankfully, and with the wonderful help of the ANC administration, we were able to organize a modified floral tribute, distributing thousands of flowers to gold star families as they entered Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Bridge. Our socially-distanced and masked volunteers used broom sticks to carefully pass bags to family pass holders, and then the families distributed the flowers on twelve thousand gravesites.

It was not the Memorial Day we had planned for at the start of 2020. But it was a day that memorialized those who served and died for our country. And we aim to do that again in 2021.

We aren’t entirely sure what things will look like in May 2021 for Memorial Day this year. But we are already organizing. Our plan is not to organize large events at most cemeteries, as that seems unlikely again this year. Instead, we will bring the flowers to the people with our Tribute Boxes Program.

An individual or family can order a Tribute Box of 50, 125, or 250 flowers to place in late May 2021 in a cemetery near their home on their own, or use the flowers to create bouquets to deliver to a veterans home, VA hospital or Vet Center. For scout troops or larger groups of families, we also have a Troop Tribute Box of 1500 flowers (enough for about 15 dedicated members and 2 or 3 adults to distribute in less than 2 hours). Flowers can be easily ordered through our website, and we will express ship them directly in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

Distributing flowers in a cemetery for a solitary person, a family, or a small group of families, is an activity that is easy to do while maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask. For a person with 125 stems, it can take about 90-120 minutes, if they are visiting gravesites that are relatively close together, and pausing to read each name and be grateful for their service.

For individuals seeking to find a deeper meaning in Memorial Day, distributing flowers hearkens back to the history of the holiday, which was originally known as Decoration Day, because people would bring flowers to cemeteries to decorate gravesites. For families seeking to get out of the house during the pandemic and educate their children about the U.S. and its history, this activity is a simple way to spend time together outside as a family and give back to the community. We hope you will consider participating. Read more here and place an order now for May 2021.

We hope to again distribute flowers to family passholders in a safe manner at Arlington National Cemetery this year, with the permission of the ANC Administration.

The Foundation is participating in Giving Tuesday on December 1. It’s a day for people to give to worthy charities during the holiday season. Every dollar that is given will place a flower at an Arlington National Cemetery gravesite.  And in a difficult year we have some good news. Thanks to the generous support of the California Association of Growers and Shippers, the Foundation’s administrative costs are covered for 2021.

Thank you for your support. You are helping us honor our fallen troops and veterans every time you share a social media post with a friend, tell someone else about our work over Memorial Day Weekend, or place flowers in a cemetery to honor our fallen.  Thank you, for your partnership in this work.

Best wishes to you and yours for a joyous holiday and new year,

R. L. Penaherrera
Executive Director

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Memorial Day Flowers Foundation

781 Beach St Ste 302

San Francisco, CA 94109-1245

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