Roses are not just for Valentine’s Day anymore! In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation that name the rose as the United States national flower. Since every state had already adopted a flower as its emblem, the United States needed one as well.

Ronald Reagan’s proclamation explains the choice of the rose. This flower has long been a symbol for “life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity.” All of these ideas are fundamental elements of the United States.

The United States has gone through many troubles, and yet has weathered its storms as a nation. The USA is a land rich in natural beauty, with the vast majority of its people decent, kind-hearted souls. There is no other flower that sums up the character of this nation so well. The rose’s many different colors and varieties can be said to symbolize the many different types and races of people who populate the USA’s land.

Roses have grown in the United States for millennia; archaeological evidence suggests that the plant may be as much as 35 million years old! George Washington, the first president, had a rose garden and a variety he bred and named for his mother, the Mary Washington Rose is grown to this day. There is an extensive rose garden at the White House, and some of the state capitols maintain rose gardens as well (one example is the International World Peace Rose Garden in Sacramento, California).

While not every rose grows everywhere, roses are cultivated in all fifty states, making the flower a fitting symbol for a diverse, though unified, country. Other countries have used the rose as a symbol of unity, and so it is in the United States. The rose is the perfect national flower for the diverse, beautiful, loving USA.

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