9/11 memorial flag garden vandalized in Boston Public Garden

American flags. (PxHere/Released)
September 10, 2021

Scores of flags planted in Boston’s Public Garden in remembrance of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were knocked over and damaged sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning — an incident Boston police are investigating as a possible act of vandalism.

“It’s certainly heartbreaking. I’m thinking of the families. This is a very hard week for them,” said Carolyn Casey, founder of nonprofit Project 351, which helped set up the memorial flag garden.

Members of Project 351 and the Mass 9/11 Fund were planted 2,997 miniature American flags on the Public Garden Wednesday, with each flag symbolizing a life lost in the terrorist attacks. A special section of the garden is dedicated to the 205 Bay Staters who died that day.

But early Thursday morning, Casey and other organizers got word that the garden was in total disarray.

“There were scores of flags down for sure. Some were all the way down, some were tilted or bent,” said Casey.

Boston police responded to the scene just after 8:00 a.m. and are investigating the incident as an act of vandalism, according to a spokesperson.

The damaged flags have since been repaired, and the garden will stay up through Sunday, next to the 9/11 memorial. Casey said organizers are coordinating with the Parks Department to ensure the garden stays intact going forward.

Casey told the Herald the damage is particularly galling considering the upcoming 20th anniversary of the tragedy, which affected Americans for years beyond that day.

“I’m also thinking of the military families whose loved ones responded,” she said.

There was some silver lining to the “heartbreaking” morning, Casey noted.

“By the time I got there, there were already volunteers who wanted to be part of recreating the garden — people who had no connection to it. They just wanted to make the garden whole again. I’m just focusing on that spirit of unity.”


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