He wears one each day.
It has been a part of his political campaigns.
It even appears on his website.
But Gary didn’t always wear a carnation. The tradition began one day in 1968 when as a teacher at Shimer Junior High School in Jamaica when he arrived to work early.
He stopped at a local florist and picked out a white carnation.
He then slipped the flower into his lapel.
When his students arrived for the start of classes, they greeted Ackerman with a stream of “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Anniversary” sentiments.
It’s neither,” Ackerman talk his students-leading them to ask “why” he was wearing the flower.
“Why not,” Ackerman replied.
The kids came back with “Because (you) only wear a flower on special days.”
Ackerman said he then told the students that “every day is a special day,” and closed his lesson plan book.
The group spent the rest of the day talking about what makes people “feel good” or “special.”
Ackerman has been wearing a fresh carnation every day, ever since that day in 1968.
“That’s 35 years,” he said.
And that’s 12,775 carnations to mark 12,775 special days.
“Not too shabby, huh,” he said.