In Marietta, Ohio, Aletha’s Florist gave away more than 2,000 ‘Freedom’ roses on Sept. 2 in memory of those who died, and also to thank living first responders and military personnel for their service.
Owner Pamela Aletha Shirley gave away the roses more than a week before the actual anniversary because crowds at the town’s Sternwheel Festival, Sept. 9-11, make it very difficult for people to come in to her shop that weekend, she said.
She said she broadened the give-away to all those in public service to “honor our heroes.”
Drawing attention to the giveaway, a fire truck, an ambulance and several police cruisers ran their lights outside the store. Inside, staff handed out six roses with a note asking recipients to keep one and give away five to honor veterans, those in public safety jobs, or family members who have lost loved ones in such positions. Outside, police officers and firefighters handed out single roses from buckets, attached to each was a tag explaining what was going on inside.
“I just think we ought to thank these people for serving and protecting us abroad and here,” Shirley said. The roses are a way to “give back to the community.”
Shirley has asked customers and community members to give her photographs of friends and family members in public service for a collage she will display in her shop’s window. She will include a picture of her dad, who served in the Army, along with signs thanking them for their support.
Especially for You Florist in Monroe Township, N.J., donated three wreaths to the Monroe Township memorial and one wreath to a memorial in nearby Spotswood, N.J., said manager Steve Rogala. Monroe Township is about 20 miles from the memorial at the World Trade Center site being dedicated Sunday. For memorials, the shop generally donates wreaths made from white silk carnations and a red bow, so they last. A Memorial Day silk wreath recently weathered Hurricane Irene, he said.
“As a florist that’s how we identify ourselves by donating flowers instead of checks,” Rogala said. “It’s what we do to be part of the community.”
Beavercreek Florist in Beavercreek, Ohio, is donating a 30-inch wreath made of red carnations, white Siberian lilies and blue delphinium for the dedication of the town’s 9/11 memorial on Sunday, manager Peg Dunlop said. Owner Tom Hamilton heard about the dedication through the Chamber of Commerce and volunteered to provide the wreath. The town obtained a 23-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center to use in its memorial, and surrounded it with a pentagon shape.
Flowers are part of the healing process when it comes to any tragedy.