Memorial Day Reflections

Sandy Schroeck AIFD, PFCI, CFD
Tuesday, May 18, 2020

While for many Memorial Day marks the first long weekend of summer, the history of this holiday goes much deeper. This last year we all have had the opportunity to take the time to become more reflective of things that are important in life and appreciate our family connections. Activities that we took for granted came to a halt, and the world will be forever changed because of it. Memorial Day is another time to reflect. It started as Decoration Day to honor the deceased veterans by decorating their graves in the aftermath of the American Civil War. This tradition continued throughout the country as patriotism following wars began to rise. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated annually on the last Monday in May. With tradition still holding some communities, they will have small military parades occurring with graveside services and dedications, but this seems to be disappearing as the generations age.

The initial purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. Though out history Memorial Day has grown to honor all deceased family and friends that have passed. Traditionally, the dedicated family would take time to bring flowers and tributes to the gravesides of members that have gone before to honor their memory. Now, this is a service that florists will offer to do the placement of a memorial floral tribute. Look at this as an opportunity to update those traditions and provide customers with custom upgraded options.

Using a monument vase to place a bouquet of flowers is the most common tribute we see in the Midwest. American flags are placed on graves sites for remembrance of military service, a new tradition has been added here also adding a single rose laid on the headstone. For greater impact, easels are used to place floral décor such as open hearts, crosses, and sprays next to a gravestone. Planters with a mix of garden plants are also a favorite. These tributes vary though out the country; in some places, large faux botanical sprays have been used as memorial decor. Each one is a special memory of a person that influenced your life.

It is our responsibility to keep some of that tradition alive, remembering your family history can bring richness into your life, we have to teach a new generation the importance of not letting those connections to the past go. When some of our freedoms are taken away, it causes you to reexamine the blessing you have been given. Bring back that family importance, by taking the time to appreciate where you came from enlightens the path forward to making your mark on the world.

Can Memorial Day evolve once again?

Thinking of it beyond the first long weekend indicating the start of summer. Taking a cross-section between the old and the new times we live in, updating memorial designs to show tributes with elegance. Imagine a simple double brick tray used with an updated design framing a headstone capturing the incredible beauty of the monument—beautiful open heart designs placed on easels to capture the beauty of the deceased.

Our world has changed this year, throughout the pandemic, so many lives were lost, and many of the traditional memorial services have not been able to be held. Consider how we can support their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind? Not only to remember the deceased but also the people that loved them. Start a new tradition by sending a remembrance bouquet to the home to give the comfort that we know flowers can hold.

In this new era, we will cherish the time we have together with a new appreciation of family and friends. It has been said, “Separation makes the heart grow fonder,” maybe that is the lesson we can all learn from.

Make this Memorial Day special, remember old traditions and start some new ones.