Gold Star families visiting their fallen loved ones at Arlington National Cemetery and local veterans cemeteries across the country this Memorial Day will receive flowers as part of a nationwide charitable effort.
The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation is giving away 6,000 flowers at Arlington, along with 64,000 flowers to individuals visiting local, state, and national veterans cemeteries on May 25. The foundation, founded in 2011, has curtailed this year’s effort because of COVID-19—in 2019 the group had 1,500 volunteers providing 240,000 flowers at Arlington, along with 200,000 at more than 100 cemeteries across the country.
“Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Day is not canceled,” Ramiro Peñaherrera, the foundation’s co-founder and executive director, said in a release. “We can still honor our fallen troops and their sacrifices this year, but we have to do it in a safe way.”
Because of the outbreak, Arlington is only allowing access to family passholders and is closed to the general public. Those entering the cemetery need to wear face coverings while on the grounds. Volunteers will distribute the flowers contact-free from a truck at the cemetery’s entrance.