Memorial Day: Flag Garden on Boston Common

Events, Opinions Posted May 27, 2016 by Kayla Krause

When I think of Memorial Day–the weekend that kicks off summer—my mind jumps to beach days and barbecues and backyards. But it’s truly so much more than that.

Memorial day_flags and statueEvery Memorial Day weekend in Boston, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund puts together a flag garden in the middle of Boston Common to represent the fallen service members from Massachusetts who have died in the nation’s service since the Revolutionary War. This year there are over 37,000 flags displayed in the garden. The presentation is breathtaking.

On Thursday morning, the MA Military Heroes Fund hosted a ceremony, in which to honor those Massachusetts heroes who have fallen in service to the U.S. as a result of current-day military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The president of the Fund, Steve Kerrigan, was the first to address the crowd, thanking those who helped make this annual flag garden a possibility. He then introduced Governor Charlie Baker, who proceeded to tell a story that resonated through the entire audience.

It was a personal story about a woman from his hometown of Swampscott who died in the line of duty after volunteering for one final tour overseas. He concluded by saying that this is just one story that represents one of the flags on the ground. There are 37,201 other flags staked in this dirt that all have their own stories and families and friends associated with someone who made the same sacrifice for our country.

I think Boston mayor Marty Walsh referenced it best with this quote that General George Patton said in 1955, “It’s foolish to simply mourn those who died, rather we should thank God for that such men lived.” These flags show more than just a person, they represent what it takes to love and protect this nation. Our country would not be the same today if it weren’t for the actions these brave men and women made.

If you have a chance to stop by, whether it’s on your way to or from work, on your lunch break, or if you’re coming into the city for the weekend, it is an amazing and moving site to see and—more importantly—to recognize. The flag garden is not only a reminder, but the reason we have this upcoming long weekend. And I honestly don’t think there’s any better reason to raise your glass this Memorial Day than to the men and women who have sacrificed their life for our country.