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The Times
  • David Tonyan: Marines’ rose program meant to honor fallen

  • Most people are familiar with the silk poppy program that benefits veterans and their families. But the U.S. Marine Corps has a rose program that focuses attention on Marines who have given their all.

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  • A symbol of love to many, a rose means even more than that to some of our nation’s bravest.
    The U.S. Marine Corps Rose Program carries on a tradition started in the Revolutionary War and continued in World War I. To them, the rose commemorates those who died for our country.
    The program was started by Eddie Gallagher in New York, and it was designed to parallel the silk poppy program operated by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Marines will distribute roses and solicit financial donations to assist veterans, youth programs and humanitarian endeavors.
    The symbol was inspired by the Marine Corps Rose dedicated to Marines who died in the Revolutionary War and by the roses planted by the French in World War I at the graves of fallen Marines. It might not be as well known as the poppy program, but some Marines hope to change this.
    Jim Myrick, fundraising chairman and color guard member of the DuPage County Marines organization in Illinois, said they wear Marine Corps roses year round.
    “It’s to support the Marines. It’s just a little rose. You can wear it on hat lapels, purses, anything,” said Myrick.
    The DuPage Marine Corps Rose Program has been growing. Around 100 people are involved, and Myrick said the revenue they have raised has tripled in the last year.
    Wearing the rose honors the memory of those who have fought for this country, and it is a great way to recognize our nation’s founding. The Marine Corps Rose Program’s message is simple: Take a rose when you see one of their Marines.
    If you can support their cause with a donation, that is wonderful. If you cannot, still wear the rose to honor the memory of fallen Marines. It’s an appropriate way to show your patriotism this Independence Day.
    David Tonyan is the opinions intern this summer for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8885 or dtonyan@mysuburbanlife.com.
     
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