OKC Florist Creates Memorial Flower Arrangements For 20 Years
OKLAHOMA CITY - In light of the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, one local florist has been part of every remembrance ceremony from the very start making sure the families of the victims are never forgotten.
With each part of the anniversary set-up in place, there is just one more finishing touch – the flowers.
Master florist Marie Ackerman is no rookie to weaving arrangements. Her company Teleflora, has had her do flowers for the victims of the OKC Bombing since the beginning.
"We coordinated all the flowers for the service, the first memorial service that was at the fairgrounds and worked with local florists to help do that, it was a massive effort," Ackerman said.
But she didn't stop there. She helped do flowers for all the rescue workers, then for all the funerals. And every year, she and a team place roses on the memorial chairs for the 168 victims.
"I remember I lost a good friend in it and somebody I went to church with, and it's personal for all of us."
A personal touch is added to the design. The colors red, white and blue are a part of each wreath for the 23 federal departments inside the Murrah Building at the time of bombing.
The color palette chosen for the ceremony stage flowers consists of purple, blue and chartreuse.
The wreaths will be mounted on easels with wires to stay in place.
Each wreath takes about one hour to create. Ackerman prepared the wreaths in the basement archive room of the memorial's museum.
More than just carnations and chrysanthemums, the flowers are from the heart.
"We wanted them to be beautiful, so everybody says wow did you see that in honor of some great people who were lost," Ackerman said.
One huge wreath with 168 roses will be for President Bill Clinton to present on Sunday.
The florists will start setting up at the memorial at 4 a.m. and will have to coordinate with the secret service for placement.