37,000-Flag Memorial Garden Returned to Boston Common This Year after COVID-19 Restrictions

The 37 000 flag Memorial Garden returned to the Boston Common this year, following a smaller display last year amid the COVID-19 restrictions. 

The full Boston Common flag Memorial Garden has returned this year. The 37 000 flags were set up this year on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. 

The full amount of flags return this year, as last year, the display had to be cut down to 1000 flags. The flags were placed six feet apart to be aligned with the COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing rules.

The Boston Common Memorial Garden over Memorial Day Weekend, 2021, Boston. | Photo: NBC Boston

The Boston Common Memorial Garden over Memorial Day Weekend, 2021, Boston. | Photo: NBC Boston

Fully vaccinated volunteer military personnel, health care workers and other volunteers gathered to poke small holes into the ground and plant the 37 000 flags. Each flag represents a fallen Massachusetts military service hero, starting from the Revolutionary War. 

This was the 12th year the Memorial Day flag garden has been set up. Tom Crohan, president of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, said that they are excited to bring back the decade tradition in its full glory:

"We're energized by the fact we can bring the full flag garden back to the Commonwealth as we have for more than a decade."

Crohan added that the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund hoped that the impressive flag garden would inspire others to honor those who lost their lives defending the country's citizens. 

The fund partnered with volunteers from the Massachusetts General Hospital program, a Red Sox Foundation, and Home Base to get the display put up. All of the possible slots for volunteers were filled up. 

Governor, Charlie Baker, said at the ceremony that he missed the event last year.

Although the garden is special to many community members, it is incredibly special to families who have lost a loved one. The Gold Star and other bereaved military families were able to return to honor their fallen love ones. 

Although COVID-19 restrictions did not allow for an in-person event in 2020, the families held an online event to honor their loved ones. However, Gold Star father, Steven Milley, said he was grateful to be back in person because:

"Being with our extended families certainly is much better." 

Milley said that on Memorial Day, everyone remembered those who had fallen. However, for Gold Star families, every day was Memorial Day. Milley's son, 1st Lt. Scott F. Milley, lost his life in battle in Afghanistan in November 2010.

Milley has brought his family to the Common at the start of the Memorial Day weekend since his son's death. They joined other families and the governor to read out the names of their lost loved ones.

Governor, Charlie Baker, said at the ceremony that he missed the event last year and was thrilled that the city and the families could come together and thank the fallen military heroes for their service.

Although COVID-19 restrictions allowed for the display, it still impacted the day. Only 100 people could volunteer, which meant it took an extra eight hours to put up the display, compared to 700 volunteers in previous years. 

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