New rose honors veterans

May 27, 1999

New Veterans' roseBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It might not look like much to the casual observer, but the stumpy root planted at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center has special meaning for veterans like George M. Moore Jr.

Martinsburg was among the Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country that held special ceremonies Thursday afternoon for the planting of a new rose dedicated to America's veterans.

"It's a constant reminder of the price I paid in Vietnam," said Moore, director of the Martinsburg VA.

Moore, who lost both legs and his right hand in a plane crash during the Vietnam War, said people have a tendency to take their freedom for granted.


"That's not all bad, but it's up to us to remind them that it isn't free," Moore said.

The dark red Veterans' Honor Hybrid Tea Rose was created at the request of Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Kenneth W. Kizer to serve as a "living and lasting tribute" to those who have served and sacrificed for America, according to VA officials.

"It's necessary that we dedicate things to the veterans that we've lost in all the wars. This rose does this," said Korean War Army veteran Godfrey Miller, of Taneytown, Md.

About 50 patients, VA Center workers and guests gathered for the planting of the bush in a small patch of dirt in front of the fountain outside the center's nursing home.

While the rose bush planted Thursday in Martinsburg is little more than five branches attached to some roots, VA spokesman Doris Griffin said it is expected to grow to be about 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

The Veterans' Honor rose will have semi-glossy foliage and a light raspberry fragrance, according to VA officials.

The company that donated the rose bushes for the plantings, Oregon-based Jackson & Perkins, has promised to donate 10 percent of the proceeds from the sales of the roses toward VA medical research.

The Veterans' Honor rose can be ordered at 800-872-7673.

The rose was also debuted Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where it was planted in a memorial rose garden, according to VA officials.

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