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Memorial Day 'Rose Campaign' launched for Miramar, Fort Rosecrans cemeteries

Memorial Day 'Rose Campaign' launched for Miramar, Fort Rosecrans cemeteries
Posted at 4:09 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 20:47:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - At Miramar National Cemetery, a COVID-forced Memorial Day reality is prompting some to step up, determined to make the holiday a special one.

In March 2018, Krysten Meleen's grandfather, Navy veteran Arthur Last, passed away and was buried at Miramar National Cemetery. Six months later, Meleen, wife to an active duty Marine at the time, laid to rest her stillborn son in the same cemetery.

This Memorial Day, she was looking forward to honoring both her son and grandfather. Her plans will look a look different thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.

"It's heartbreaking," said Meleen.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony will be a virtual one. The flags laid out by the cemetery won't be there. Also absent this year, the flowers usually put out by a national nonprofit.

"It doesn't seem right. Doesn't seem 'American' if you will. These are the people that have give all to our country ... They deserve all the recognition," said Meleen.

The sentiment was shared by others, including Jenelle Brinneman, who owns Bellani Floral in Valley Center. After she heard from a distraught widow, she jumped into action.

"Her story hit me. I had to help. Didn't know how, but knew I had to help," said Brinneman.

Brinneman helped spread the word on a social media, in hopes of laying bouquets at 100 grave markers at both Miramar National Cemetery and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

"Each bouquet will have two to four roses, and up to 10 roses. Will be red and white roses," said Brinneman.

So far, she's raised about $600, about half of what she needs. On the morning of Memorial Day, she's planning her special deliveries.

"My hope for Memorial Day is to bring smiles to families' faces. We're going through a hard time right now, but we still remember their loved ones. We appreciate them," said Brinneman.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up for the "Rose Campaign."

Anyone wanting a grave marker to receive the flowers are asked to submit nominations.