By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Add some blue flowers to the traditional red-and-white floral arrangements usually associated with Valentine’s Day, and the results are Valentine bouquets with a patriotic flair.
The Madison Garden Club added the patriotic elements to the arrangements and table decorations for its February/Valentine meeting and proved that the two were not incompatible. In fact, when combined, the effects were quite striking.
From the wall facing the club house entrance, where a row of red hearts rested atop a large flag, and where a mannequin dressed in stars and stripes stood beside a flag-draped table, to the tables inside, to the very, very large flag draped across the back wall of the stage, the result was that of patriotic valentines honoring American veterans who had served throughout the nation’s history, from colonial times to the present.
Each table represented a different period of American history, all of themValentines dedicated to the American Veterans who had served in the war from that particular era. From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, to WWI and II, to the present, each table with its red white and blue flowers, historical silverware, china, candle- sticks and other accoutrements, evoked the colonial era to the modern. There was the rustic look of pansies in a pewter bowl setting the theme at one table and a magnificent three-tiered red, white and blue arrangement of snapdragons and baby’s breath at another.
Then, there was the more austere decoration of the American Legion table, devoted to the remembrance of POWs and MIAs. Set for one, in recognition of the frailty of one prisoner, alone, the empty chair was covered with the POW/MIA symbol, recognizing that the soldier is not there with friends and family. The table also held a single red rose symbolizing shed blood and remembering the families and loved ones who wait; a red ribbon symbolized the red ribbons worn by the many who do not allow anyone to forget; grains of salt on the plate represent the countless tears shed by loved ones; the lemon slice recognizes the bitterness.
Yet there is hope, as symbolized by the light of the candle. There is also the faith represented by the open Bible that keeps hope alive for all those being held in foreign prison camps and for those whose fate is still unknown.
Valentine’s Day, traditionally a day for cherished loved ones to spend together, thus becomes also a day for remembering those who cannot be with their loved ones, those who have sacrificed so much to defend freedom for their families and friends, as well as millions of other Americans. For those who owe so much to the sacrifice of a few, the patriotic Valentines are a visual reminder that freedom often comes at a pretty steep price.