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Veterans Day Activities in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Nov 11, 2014

Veterans Day is a holiday marked to honor all of those who have served our country in the military forces.  Often confused with Memorial Day, which remembers all those who have died while in the service, November 11th is the federal holiday that marks the end of The Great War otherwise known as World War I.   Although the document that officially ended the battle, The Treaty of Versailles, wasn’t signed in France until seven months later on June 28, 1919, soldiers ceased their fighting on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour, thus becoming what we all celebrate as Veterans Day.  Around the country, United States citizens pay homage to the brave men and women who sacrifice themselves in complete totality by engaging in activities, events and honorariums to say their thanks in appreciation for everything that they do.  Among one of the most active demographics to participate within these celebrations are Bostonians who are particularly patriotic due to the rich history Bean Town possesses.  Here are some local events occurring within Massachusetts observing the Veterans Day holiday essence. 


Parades are a wonderful way to join with one another to lionize a special occasion and Boston just so happens to put on a remarkable show.  Beginning at 1pm at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Street, this eclectic group of marchers includes ROTC high school cadets, several military units and incredible bands blaring nationalistic music throughout the city.  Following only three minutes behind is the second parade segment marched by the “Veteran’s For Peace”, an organization dedicated towards advocating knowledge about the cost (financial, physical and mental) of war upon our country.  Filled with chants, speeches and colorful presentations, Boston’s Veteran’s Day Parade is one of the most reputable patriotic gatherings of the year.


Boston is also hosting a variety of special events including the “Women’s Veterans Appreciation Day” event located at the State House on 2014 November 6th, at 11 am.  Not only will families and friends gather to eat an exquisite brunch celebrating female military personnel but one will be awarded the Deborah Sampson Award in dedication of Massachusetts’ first female veteran.  “Back On My Feet Veteran’s Walk & Run” is another alternative where awareness and funds are raised to support returning military troops to deter homelessness and abandonment.  This wonderful cause takes place on the 11th of November at 6pm starting meeting at Government Center.   A third option to be included on your calendar is the “Habitat For Humanity Veterans Build”, a construction project supported by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services to build homes for returning female soldiers.  And the best part about it?  You don’t have to have any previous architectural or contracting skills to join in!



Tags: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Veterans, Politics

What Flowers Should I Bring to the Cemetery ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 10, 2014

There are flowers for all occasions.  Some are happy, some are sad and some are given with the intent of remembrance.  During these times when we select pieces to honor those we have lost, many look for blooms, which reflect memories of their spirit, hoping to feel once again connected to those who are gone.  Memorial urns, cascades and plants are placed to signify our love and admiration at the sites of their burial for this reason.  We seek to select arrangements that will not only signify our emotion but also withstand the natural outdoor elements that are accustomed to cemeteries and graveyards.  How do we choose remembrance arrangements that are beautiful but will hold up for an elongated time outside?  Here are a few popular floral ideas that will satisfy both the demands of eye appeal and longevity for your loved ones memorial sites.


Long lasting flowers are some of the more popular choices for this type of occasion.  While no blossom is immune to death, there are varieties that will outlive some of the more delicate picks.  Lilies for example, are excellent because of the boldness of their flower’s head and their ability to last for longer than a week depending on the freshness of the stems.  Special species in the lily family, which make great solutions for memorial vases, are Asiatic lilies, known to be grown in bright colors as well as possess strong chutes enabling a longer length of service and calla lilies that boast an elegant white cone shaped face.  


Another type of flower high in demand by funeral specializing florists are in the tropical family with options of birds of paradise, ginger and dendrobium orchids.  Highly branded as strong and almost indestructible (again, make sure you are purchasing the products from a reputable wholesaler with high quality and fresh inventory), their durability and exotic presentation keep this variety on the most wanted list for this type of floral work.  Tropicals are easily mixed with one another and look favorably with other tropical greens including bamboo and hosta leaves.  Don’t be intimidated by a slight increase in cost, their beauty and perpetual ability to outlast other common stems of roses and carnations will leave funeral goers in awe of the design work.


You can’t talk about the options of memorial flowers without mentioning the use of silk flowers within this segment of the flower business.  Un-beloved by all, they do offer the indestructible feature of not being alive and the fact that contemporary manufacturers have made silks a lot more attractive and life like.  Varieties that have ranked among the higher desired for funeral pieces are oncidium, pussy willow and forsythia branches.  If you’re not a huge fan of this material, there is no law stopping designers from intertwining real flowers with the fake.  Peonies, iris and chrysanthemums can add an authentic appeal to urns when paired with quality silk accessories.  Onlookers will love the depth of color and be none the wiser that the piece contains faux stems of flowers. 

Whether you visit Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston to visit E.E. Cummings' grave  or Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park to visit Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's grave, make sure you bring flowers.


Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA

Suzie lives in Westwood, MA with her family. She works at the Westwood Public Library, has published four children's books and is the founder of the Women's Lockerroom Foundation.


Tags: Cemetery Flowers, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Funeral Flowers

Arlington National Cemetery Welcomes Flowers for Veterans

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Nov 11, 2013

During Veteran's Day we are reminded of our freedom and the many who have sacrificed their lives in defending that freedom. At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, thousands of visitors show their respect for our veterans with flowers for their graves. Flowers at a gravesite not only show honor and respect but also show love for the one who has died. 
cemetery flowers veterans resized 600 Arlington National Cemetery even realizes the importance of having arranged flowers. They offer complimentary cemetery vases to insert your mixed flower bouquet into. Arlington National Cemetery is a visual masterpiece. Walking the grounds of the cemetery sends chills up your spine. Every American can say they have a loved one there, as these men and women have given us so much more than we could ever give them. Flowers at their gravesite is the least we can do.
Arlington National Cemetery even has a set of floral guidelines which exhibit how important they feel flowers are. 
  • Fresh cut flowers may be placed on gravesites at any time. Arlington National Cemetery provides portable cones for flowers that public may use. These cones can be found throughout the cemetery in centralized stone containers.
  • Artificial flowers may be placed on gravesites from October 10 through April 15.
  • The government does not assume any responsibility for damaged or missing flower arrangements.
  • Planting of flowers, shrubs, etc. is prohibited.
  • Potted plants are permitted during the period 7 days before and 7 days after Easter.
  • Wreaths are permitted during the holiday season (from 1 Dec until mid-January).
  • Floral items will be removed from the gravesites as soon as they become faded and unsightly.
  • Prohibited decorations include: statues, vigil lights, flags, glass objects of any nature, and any type of commemorative items and are not permitted on gravesites—except for U.S. flags placed on the gravesites by government employees for Memorial Day.
  • Floral items and other types of decorations are not to be secured to the headstone or marker.
  • Flowers may be placed at the bottom of a column at the niche wall or in the Columbarium.
Every Christmas since 1992, Arlington National Cemetery has been the recipient of 5000 donated Christmas wreaths for the graves there. 
Arlington Christmas Wreath  resized 600
Even if you cannot get to Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran's Day. There are thousands of veterans' graves in the Boston area where you can leave a stem or two of flowers to show your respect.

Tags: Cemetery Flowers, Patriot's Day, Veterans Day, Veterans, Patriot Day, Patriotic Flowers

Boston Author Suzie Canale Shares her Expertise on Military Weddings.

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Nov 09, 2013

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Veterans Day, 11.11.13  is one of our most overlooked holidays.  Veterans Day pays tribute to the men and women who have served in the military for the preservation of the United States of America. These selfless individuals commit their lives to protect, organize and strengthen the safety of United States citizens. These soldiers  have  earned the title, hero. They are fearless, gallant, courageous, brave.   Veterans provide the  definition of patriotism, “love of; loyalty to one’s own country; inspired by one’s country.”  U.S soldiers express  their devotion throughout many rites and celebrations, even wedding ceremonies. 

 Military weddings are not only special for the bride and groom, but also the guests.  Not only does the branch of service each differ for a military wedding, but also the soldier's rank determines certain customs as well.  A soldier is required to wear his or her uniform during their wedding ceremony. Military wedding ceremonies can be held on a base, in a private venue or in public, where a chaplain may conduct the readings.  Military invitations must state the rank and branch which either the bride or groom serves.  Engagement rings are often traditional but can also be a class or fraternity ring.   The most dramatic and photographed aspect of military weddings is the arch of sabers or swords.  When the couple is pronounced man and wife, they are ushered through an archway of sword or saber (depends on the branch) bearing soldiers where they are temporarily blocked in the end until the bride and groom kiss. Spectacular, romantic, regal.

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The reception of a military wedding also differs than a traditional Boston wedding.  The commanding officer (C.O.) present often sits with the couple’s immediate family at the head table, paying homage to the C.O.'s  role as leader. The wedding couple's cake cutting is a ceremony all its own.  The groom cuts the wedding cake with his sword/saber (with the bride’s assistance).  Other military wedding planning can include decorations and favors representing the branch of the soldier, including keepsakes and mementos, elaborate desserts and color themes for wedding flowers. Florists like Exotic Flowers in Boston have created red, white and blue weddings; red and gold Marine corps themed weddings; and black and white formal military balls.

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What better way could two people begin their lives together than promoting the Armed Forces traits of honor, loyalty and dedication ?

Tags: Veterans Day, Suzie Canale, Wedding Flowers

The Best USA Flag Ever That Does Not Fly is Made of Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Aug 02, 2012

flower flag usa resized 600
This flower flag was created by the city of Lompoc, California in celebration of Flag Day in 2002. The Lompoc Valley is a mecca for flower growers and is also home to Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Bodger Seed Company planted this flag to honor all those lost on 9/11. The flag is comprised of red, white and blue larkspur flowers. 
The flag measures seven hundred and forty feet long and three hundred and ninety feet wide. The flag dimensions meet the protocoal of Executive Order #10834.  The flag is almost seven acres and each white star measures twenty four feet while each stripe measures thrity feet wide. The flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 larkspur plants with about five blooms on each stem giving the flag two million blooms.

Tags: Gardening, Veterans Day, USA, 9/11, July 4th

Korean War Veteran Still Leads at Florist in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Nov 09, 2010



Veterans Day 2010 - Proclamation President Barack Obama

"On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the  United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strenghten the bond between a Nation and her warriors.

... Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families..."

At Exotic Flowers and Lombardi Florist in Boston and Roslindale, we are proud to be lead daily by a veteran. Arnold "Sonny" Canale proudly served in the U.S. Navy on board the destroyer USS Buck761. Sonny served during the Korean War as a machinist mate and received his honorable discharge.

USS Buck 761Sonny brings his miliary background to work on a daily basis. Employees are trained daily in discipline, honesty and most importantly respect.

Some observers may feel that this regimentation is a bit intense for a Boston flower shop. Exotic Flowers however feels that our military influence is integral to our success as Boston's Premier Florist.

Veterans Day Flowers


Tags: Veterans Day, Veterans, Sonny Canale

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