From the very beginning Memorial Day has been about honoring the gravesites of those service members lost in combat.
According to General Order 11, which enacted the holiday in 1868, Memorial day is designated “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades, who died in defense, of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every City, Village, and hamlet, churchyard in the land.”
Although many families do choose to visit the gravesite of loved ones themselves, more and more people live far away from the burial sites of family members. That is when professional florists like Kimberly Clark step in.
Clark, who owns Little House of Flowers in Pittsburg, says Memorial Day is her biggest day for cemetery arrangements.
“I’m actually on my way back out to one of the cemeteries now.” Clark said Friday. “We are very busy for Memorial Day. Families have special requests, and we try to make sure we meet them.”
Some customers request arrangements be placed days in advance, others want special colors or flowers.
“Most of our flowers for Memorial Day are silks, and it’s very important to us that we make those to order. We personalize them as much as possible.” Clark said.
Memorial Day is an important one for Clark, not just for her business, but also personally as well.
“I put a lot of care into all my arrangements, but there are some that are just an honor for me to place for the family. I know it means a lot of them.” she said.
One of the most touching orders, according to Clark, is for the widow of her family's doctor, Dr. Pogson.
“His wife lives away, and she trusts us to do this for her. We can serve as a bridge for some of these families who can’t get back themselves.” Clark said.
Clark also stressed that the smooth delivery of arrangements is due partly to the dedication of the cemetery staff.
“I have a great relationship with the local cemeteries. They are always helpful, and do a good job upkeeping things.”
Her favorite final resting place?
“I really respect them all, but I think the Hosey Hill in Weir is very sweet,” she said. “The caretakers do a good job, are always very nice, and it’s very peaceful there.”
— Keesha Hervey is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.