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Thousands of flags dot Boston Common in tribute to fallen service members

A photo of Shayne Cabino with notes written by his mother sits among the flags during the Remembering and Honoring Massachusetts Military Heroes ceremony on the Boston Common in Boston (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/TNS) on the Boston Common on Thursday, in Boston, MA. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald) May 25, 2023

More than 37,000 United States flags dotted the Boston Common Thursday, representing the thousands of military service members from Massachusetts who sacrificed their lives in defense of the country since the Revolutionary War.

Elected officials, military leaders, and families of fallen service members gathered near the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to add 397 more flags to the memorial to represent those who were lost since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The flags are planted in the hope that they offer a “measure of comfort” to families who can know that “we always remember their service and sacrifice,” said Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund President Thomas Crohan.

“To speak their names as a sign of solemn gratitude and our deep respect,” Crohan said before the names of the 397 fallen service members were spoken aloud.

Retired Brigadier General Jack Hammond, executive director of Home Base, said Memorial Day is a bittersweet time for service members.

“It’s a day of solemn remembrance,” he said. “But it’s also a day filled with amazing and happy memories. When I look out at the sea of flags behind me, my heart swells with pride at the thoughtfulness of the people that come together, for now 14 years, to take time out of their lives to build a living memorial each year.”


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