(CBS) — He wants you to never forget and to remember the sacrifice made.
A war veteran is using the American emblem — a rose — to honor families of the fallen.
CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports on the U.S. Marine’s mission.
“There’s a healing property to it,” says John Hojek, “The symmetry, the smell … It literally just kind of fills my soul for a minute.”
The combat veteran is dealing with PTSD, and cultivating the roses, he says, helps him cope.
The tattooed veteran has a soft spot for roses – and an even softer spot for the families of fallen soldiers.
“Freedom isn’t fee,” he says.
His contribution is the cost of delivering roses to Gold Star families.
“You feel honored to be in their family’s presence, quite frankly. I think those are the heroes. The families got to deal with this the rest of their lives,” Hojek says.
He grows the Chicago Peace Rose. That’s always included in a bundle of 11 roses — one short of a bouquet, symbolizing the family’s loss.
For more information about Gold Star Roses, click here to go to a fundraising page.