History of Flowers and Veterans Day

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Poppies are the iconic symbol of Veteran’s Day. Across the pond, the United Kingdom created an expansive art piece called the Poppy Installation – a traveling project commemorating WW1 soldiers – four years ago. The project is a vivid floral display featuring one ceramic poppy for every UK soldier killed during World War One and has been placed on display in the Tower of London as well as other historic sites across the country. The cascading waterfall of red poppies is a dramatic and sobering reminder of those who fell.

The Poppy became a symbol for fallen soldiers based on the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. The poem describes red poppies in Flander’s Fields of the French countryside, the site of many brutal battles during World War One. Poppies bloom among the crosses for fallen soldiers, reminding us that just briefly, they, too, lived, fought, and loved. The poignant poem has taken a life of its own, making poppies the symbol for the fallen youth. Poppies aren’t the only flower with significance for veterans, however. Several other flowers have special meaning for soldiers and their families.

Bouquets in red, white, and blue are always popular gifts for veterans. Choosing a striking array of flowers in these colors represents not only the United States flag but also the flag of many other Western countries that celebrate Armistice (Veteran’s) Day on November 11. These arrangements are ideal to place on the grave of a departed veteran or to deliver to the veteran in your life, celebrating their sacrifice and service.

Hydrangeas are a popular choice, as they are one of the few flowers that naturally blooms blue. The vibrant light blue represents the sense of justice and patriotic spirit represented by veterans.

Lilies have several different meanings. Alone, a creamy white Calla Lily signifies remembrance for one who has died, while several together have become popular bridal bouquets, symbolizing renewal and a new beginning. The color white embodies the spirit of purity and dedication to a fight on the side of right. White also stands for courage, which our veterans have in abundance. Adding a white lily to an arrangement of blue Hydrangeas is a strikingly majestic symbol, as the tall stem and clean lines rise above the bountiful blooms of the Hydrangea.

Roses and Carnations in the color red vividly complete a red, white, and blue flower arrangement. Red embodies passion, boldness, and bravery, which our veterans display on the battlefield. In addition, red denotes the blood that was spilled to protect home, family, and country, as well as the freedoms of the United States. This powerful color makes the blue and white flowers surrounding it deeply symbolic.

Honoring living veterans with a red, white, and blue flower arrangement is a loving way to celebrate a veteran. On this day, however, there are many families honoring soldiers who didn’t return from the war, or who are remembering military members in their family who have passed on. A sympathy bouquet is a thoughtful way to show your caring for these families and remember their loved one alongside them.

Simple white flowers in a sympathy bouquet convey loss and hope simultaneously. A modest arrangement of lilies, tiny white hydrangeas, and light yellow or white tea roses is simple and elegant, while artfully conveying your emotions.

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