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Veterans who died without family are not forgotten

by Joan Hellyer

Floral design students at Bucks County Community College joined with staff members and community volunteers to create 87 floral arrangements for area veterans who died without family in tribute to them for Veterans Day.

The volunteers then temporarily planted the bouquets in the Columbarium area of Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Upper Makefield on November 10th, the day before the national holiday.

They made the solemn tribute to draw attention to the ongoing situation of veterans’ remains going unclaimed.

“We want people all over America to understand what is going on,” said Dr. Jan Cook, who helped spearhead the effort.

After the display ended at the cemetery, the bouquets were transported back to the college’s Newtown Township campus and were planted for the rest of the week in front of the school’s Gateway Center Building.

The event was part of the “Flowers for Eva” initiative.

It is inspired by U.S. veteran Evan Binns, one of the “Lonely 17” who were honored at the first event last year.

The display included 17 colorful bouquets for the original veterans honored last year and 70 bouquets of white flowers for veterans who have died unclaimed and were interred this year. Giant Food Stores, McCaffrey’s Market and RichMar Florist donated the flowers, BCCC spokeswoman Jean Dolan said.

The college’s veterans club donated the cones to hold the arrangements.

“This project was a labor of love for me,” said BCCC flower design student Margie Taylor, who took part in the project. “That was the least I could do. My only daughter is serving in the U.S. Air Force. I want to do something for our military.”

The Lansdale Borough resident said she was honored to volunteer with the other designers to do something for the unclaimed veterans.

“This was my way of saying ‘thank you for your service,'” she said. “They have given their lives for us to have freedom in this country.”

For more information about the “Flowers for Eva” initiative go to www.flowersforeva.org.

PHOTO CAP: Floral design students at Bucks County Community College joined with staff members and community volunteers to create 87 floral arrangements for area veterans who died without family in tribute to them for Veterans Day.