Floral Flag Planned as Tribute to Vietnam Veterans Nov. 11
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Virginia woman’s dream of honoring Vietnam veterans with a flag made of 58,113 roses, one for each name inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will continue healing the wounds of that war, two senators say.
Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and John Kerry, D-Mass., said the 25-foot by 10- foot floral flag will be part of the Veterans Day tribute to Vietnam veterans at the black granite memorial on the Mall in Washington.
The idea for the project, called ″A Rose of Remembrance,″ came from Victoria Richards of Burke, Va.
Mrs. Richards said she was inspired when she visited the memorial and watched people place flowers in front of the granite wall honoring the dead and missing from the Vietnam War.
″I thought how great it would be to give one rose to each name on that memorial. In this way, we in American can honor ’the heros in black stone,‴ she said Monday.
Mrs. Richards also suggested at a news conference that every American place a rose in a window of their home on Veterans Day to honor those who served in Vietnam.
That way, she said, Americans from every region of the country can join in the tribute at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Warner and Kerry, along with Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam veteran whose idea it was to build the memorial, said Mrs. Richards’ project is another way of healing the wounds the Vietnam War caused its veterans and the nation as a whole.
″There is a very deep, deep rift, and the amount of healing that still needs to be done is very significant,″ Scruggs said. ″We really hope all Americans will participate in this project on Veterans’ Day by placing a rose in their window.″
Kerry said the fact the idea came from Mrs. Richards, who has no direct ties to the Vietnam War, is a sign the divisions it caused in the nation are healing.
Kerry, a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, said that in the past, plans to honor Vietnam veterans generally came from the veterans themselves.
Angelo Bonita, a Washington florist, has donated his company’s time to help design and build the rose flag.
Bonita said the flowers for the flag - white and red roses and blue ″bachelor buttons″ - would cost more than $18,000.
Scruggs said several companies that wish to remain anonymous had donated money to help pay for the project.