Memorial Day in the US is set apart as a national day to recognize the sacrifice of the men and women of the armed forces. It’s a day to honor their service and remember what they gave up to keep the United States free. This same day is celebrated as ANZAC Day in Canada and Commonwealth countries including Great Britain and Australia.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Flowers Are Typically Associated With Memorial Day?
- Memorial Day Flower Arrangement Ideas
- Memorial Day Flower Message Ideas
While this day is often marked by BBQs and parades, it’s also a time to give flowers to family members of those who paid the ultimate price. Many families also visit the graves of loved ones to place flowers in memory of their loved one.
While any floral arrangement is a thoughtful way to honor families and loved ones, consider putting together a special arrangement with flowers traditionally associated with Memorial Day.
What Flowers Are Typically Associated With Memorial Day?
Flowers have always been symbolic of various meanings, such as purity, joy, and love. By combining flowers and their meanings, you can create an arrangement that is more than just beautiful. Here are several flowers that are traditionally associated with Memorial Day.
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This flower has been associated with Memorial Day ever since it was written about in a WWI poem titled, “In Flanders Fields.” The poem, written by a Canadian officer, speaks of the fallen British in Flanders’ Fields and mentions the poppies that grew all around the graves.
“In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow… Between the crosses, row on row…”
Because of this poem, poppies grew to symbolize the blood of the fallen, as well as hope and new life. Today, poppies are used as a reminder of the fallen on Memorial Day in the US as well as Canada, Australia, and England.
Note: Cut poppies do not live long, so they don’t make good bouquet flowers. If you want to use these beautiful flowers, consider planting some in a pot or garden, instead.
Forget-me-nots or blue delphinium
Memorial Day is set apart to remember the sacrifice and lives of fallen men and women. These flowers are beautiful and delicate, and the name implies why they are used on the day of solemn remembrance. A type of blue delphinium is often used in place of forget-me-nots since the flowers share a similar appearance.
Daisies are representative of purity and innocence, two things that are often associated with youth. Many young men and women died during national and international conflicts starting with the Revolutionary War onward. Daisies can also represent the promise of innocence and freedom for the youth that were on the homefront as their fathers, brothers, friends, and cousins fought so bravely.
Blue irises are traditionally associated with faith, hope, and valor. The symbolism behind these flowers makes a perfect addition to a Memorial Day bouquet as you remember and honor the valor and faithfulness of the men and women who fought for freedom on foreign soil.
These beautiful flowers represent love, honor, passion, and devotion. These were the same qualities demonstrated by each member of the armed forces that decided to serve the country. Those we honor on Memorial Day were so devoted to their country and their fellow soldier that they laid down their life for their fellow man and their country.
Hydrangeas are associated with gratitude and thanksgiving toward another. Because of this meaning, they’re a perfect complement to any Memorial Day arrangement. The message these flowers send is one of thanks to the service member and the family for the sacrifices they’ve made.
Red and white carnations
These flowers are associated with love (red) and purity (white). When cut, they last for a very long time and make perfect additions to red, white, and blue bouquets and arrangements for Memorial Day.
Lillies are associated with renewal and rebirth, a concept held dear by those who fought for their country. Renewal and rebirth accompanied the time after wars when peace again resumed and lives were rebuilt.
Memorial Day Flower Arrangement Ideas
Memorial Day flowers come in a wide variety of arrangements. Whether you need a graveside arrangement or a bouquet to present to a loved one, consider using one of the ideas below.
When placing flowers at a grave, you have several options including bouquets, single flowers, and saddle arrangements. When choosing between live or silk flowers, be sure to check with the cemetery to find out if silk flowers are allowed.
1. Preserved patriotic wreath
This preserved wreath is made with real red, white, and blue flowers with eucalyptus branches that have been dried and preserved. When made into a wreath, the arrangement can be laid on a grave or propped up against an upright headstone. The preserved flowers won’t fade, so this wreath can be reused for other patriotic holidays and placed back on your loved one’s grave.
2. Patriotic standing wreath
A standing wreath presents a stunning image beside a grave. Create a patriotic standing wreath by combining red and white roses, red and white carnations, blue delphinium or forget-me-nots, and baby’s breath with greenery of your choice.
3. Patriotic silk saddle
A patriotic saddle is filled with red roses, white carnations, blue forget-me-nots, and baby’s breath. It can also be accompanied by an American flag ribbon.
Not all cemeteries allow silk flower saddles, so it’s important to understand any rules and regulations you need to follow. If your loved one’s cemetery does allow them, however, silk flower saddles are a perfect way to keep flowers on your loved one’s headstone without worrying about them needing to be removed shortly after placement.
4. A single red rose
A single rose can be deeply meaningful when placed on the grave of a spouse, fiancee, partner, or boyfriend/girlfriend. The single bloom speaks deeply of love, desire, and sorrow.
To send or give in person
When choosing a bouquet to send or give in person, consider the overall message you want to relay and choose flowers accordingly. Consider which flowers hold what meanings when picking your bouquet.
5. Red, white, and blue bouquet with a yellow ribbon
Any combination of red, white, and blue is perfect when honoring an American soldier. This patriotic bouquet includes a classic yellow ribbon tied around the vase.
6. Red roses, white baby’s breath, and blue delphinium bouquet
This colorful arrangement is beautifully patriotic in theme and representative of a person’s sacrifice, love for their country, and dedication to serving.
7. Blue hydrangea, red rose, and white lilies
If you want to make a statement, this red, white, and blue arrangement will certainly do the trick. The bouquet is lush and full with globe hydrangea blooms, vibrant red roses, and stunning white lilies that continue to open for days so long as you choose blooms in various stages.
8. White daisies, red carnations, and blue delphiniums or forget-me-nots
This bright and cheery arrangement sparks a sense of hope and gratitude. This bouquet might not be appropriate if you’re sending it to a loved one who recently lost their loved one. However, this is an excellent option if you want to place something around your own home to honor the memory of a service member and thank them for their sacrifice.
9. Red and white gerbera daisies, blue delphinium, and small white blooms
This combination of red, white, and blue flowers creates a lovely tribute in honor of a service member. The flowers will bring to mind the sacrifice, love, and duty displayed by the life of the person you’re honoring.
10. Red roses, white daisies, blue irises, and an American flag
The combination of these flowers creates a stunning and solemn bouquet to honor a fallen hero. If you need a bouquet to present to someone who recently lost a loved one who served in the armed forces, this is a perfect combination. A small American flag tucked into the flowers completes the bouquet.
Memorial Day Flower Message Ideas
Whether you’re sending a bouquet to a loved one or you’re planning to adorn a loved one’s grave with a flower saddle, let these message ideas inspire you.
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Fought bravely, lived selflessly. 1986-2010, 2nd Marine Regiment
This type of short message for a headstone saddle declares to everyone what kind of person your loved one was. Marking their dates and their branch of service honors their life and their love for their fellow soldiers.
Beloved son, dear friend, proud Marine.
This short message is ideal for saddle ribbon inscriptions. This message shares who your loved one was – a son, a friend, and a proud member of the Marines. Oohrah.
Honored. Remembered. Loved.
This is a perfect message for a headstone saddle that comes with a large ribbon for your message. It’s simple but perfectly stated and shares your desire to honor and remember the sacrifice of the one you love.
Thinking of your son on this Memorial Day and honoring the sacrifice he made for all of us.
Use a short message like this to comfort a family member when you give them a bouquet of flowers in honor of their son on Memorial Day.
My dear love, I never got to say goodbye on that fateful day. I love you more than I can say, and I’ll continue to honor your memory and legacy every day.
Are you planning to place a bouquet of flowers on your spouse, partner, or fiancee’s grave? Write them a message like this and let them know you’re thinking of them in a special way.
Dawn, thinking of you today and your brother’s sacrifice. His bravery, faithfulness, and dedication is an example to us all. He may no longer be with us, but his memory will never fade.
Share with the recipient what made the service member you’re remembering so special. Was it their dedication and bravery? Their selflessness and friendship? Let their loved one know that their brother, cousin, or other relation will never be forgotten as long as you live.
Honoring Loved Ones on Memorial Day
Flowers are the perfect way to tell family members and friends that you’re thinking of their loved ones on Memorial Day. Honor their memory with a bouquet or headstone saddle and a message remembering them for their service and sacrifice.
- “Flower Symbolism.” Garden of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada, 15 April 2019. veterans.gc.ca.
- “Memorial Day Flowers & Gifts.” Occasions, FTD, 2021. ftd.com.
- Rose, Ava. “Popular Flowers to Honor Those Who Have Served Our Country on Memorial Day.” Flowers, Ava’s Flowers, 8 May 2014. avasflowers.net.