By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of Memorial Day Flowers
It has been said that Veterans Day is for the living and Memorial Day is for the fallen. Many have cause to mark both holidays and reflect on loved ones who have given their lives to service.
Victory for Veterans is a national foundation with a local presence. Through programs and events, Victory for Veterans is able to honor both veterans that are still alive as well as those who have fallen.
The programs supported by Victory for Veterans focus on wellness centers around the country with an emphasis on areas like pain management, counseling, nutrition and many others. The organization also offers support groups nightly.
Memorial Day Flowers is one of the events supported by Victory for Veterans. These events occur across the nation each May. In national cemeteries across the U.S., volunteers place a rose on the grave of every veteran. The event began in 2011 at Arlington National Cemetery with 12 volunteers handing out 10,000 roses.
Denver’s Fort Logan National Cemetery joined the tradition in 2017. Volunteers handed out 500 roses to visitors to place on graves that Memorial Day. Castle Pines business owner John Vickers happened to be there for the inaugural event. He and his family were paying their respects to fallen family members and friends. A tradition his family has done for the past 25 years, since his children were babies.
“Memorial Day for many means backyard barbecues, and it does for my family as well, but it also means something more,” said Vickers. “It is such a moving experience to be out at Fort Logan, among those perfectly lined-up graves. Contemplating all of those who have given their lives in service is incredibly moving,” he continued.
The event has grown each year at Fort Logan. In 2018, 210 volunteers placed a rose on 8,750 headstones; and this year 12,507 roses were placed. The local Memorial Day Flowers group is already looking toward next year. They have started to fundraise for their initiative, “A Flower on Every Grave.” The goal for 2020 is to place 125,000 roses – one on every veteran’s grave.
The group is currently seeking sponsorships to aid in reaching this goal. To find out more about donating to this cause, visit https://www.memorialdayflowers.org/Fort-Logan-National-Cemetery/. Vickers will also accept donations at Castle Pines Veterinary Hospital, located at 363 Village Square Lane, Suite 115 in Castle Pines.
“Denver and the surrounding communities and cities have some truly great donors as we continue to grow ‘A Flower on Every Grave’ each year,” stated retired Colonel Mikel Burroughs, chairman of the board of directors for the Victory for Veterans Foundation. “Awesome patriots, great businesses and wonderful families that support the veterans that we’ve lost over the many years and what they represent to our country’s freedom.”
To learn more about Victory for Veterans, visit https://www.victoryforveterans.org.
The belief that nonprofit organizations strengthen our community, combined with faith in our readership and humanity in general that we all have talents to share, The Castle Pines Connection is committed to featuring a different local nonprofit each month. This month we highlight Victory for Veterans and Memorial Day Flowers.