Like everybody else, I blanched at the horror of Sept. 11. But ever since, I've been asking myself what might seem like a trite question in light of the tragedy. In a way I guess I'm trying to extract my own brand of meaning from the rubble. Here goes: Why did so many people reach out to firefighters and their lost comrades following the Twin Towers disaster, by solemnly laying blossoms at the firehouse door? For that matter, why did the British heap flowers in front of Buckingham Palace when a princess died tragically before her time?

An old TV commercial for an international florist put it best: 'Say it with flowers.' A red rose tells a sweetheart 'I love you' on Valentine's day. A floral display on the pulpit helps worshipers find solace during religious services. A gift of flowers tells the bereaved we care. A basket of blooms...

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