On this Memorial Day weekend, many took in an incredible display surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common, where there are more than 37,000 flags planted to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by servicemen and women from Massachusetts since the Revolutionary War.
Several events were also held Monday to mark Memorial Day throughout the Commonwealth.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Veterans Services Secretary Cheryl Poppe were at the Department of Veterans Services Annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Winchendon at 9 a.m., while Boston Mayor Michelle Wu spoke Monday morning at the Garden's Cemetery Memorial Day Service in West Roxbury.
“This is especially meaningful for my family, as an immigrant family, who came to this country giving up so much for these very ideals and freedoms that many have paid the ultimate price for,” Wu said.
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Later in the day, Baker attended a Memorial Day Observance at the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Plaza in Boston.
At the event honoring Puerto Rican service members who gave their lives, the governor said paying tribute has to be more than just one day.
"The way you celebrate these folks, those who have been lost, is by being worthy of their sacrifice," Baker said. "It’s by living as honorable a life as you possibly can.”
At a Memorial Day event in Newton, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said, “It’s always important to show up and stand up and say thank you to our veterans and those who have fallen. This year, after two long years of COVID, it’s especially important.”
Multiple parades, ceremonies and other events -- including "A Vigil of Peace" at the World War II Memorial in Back Bay/Fenway -- were held across the state Monday as Bay State residents paused to reflect on service and sacrifice.
The cannon on Old Ironsides also boomed 21 times Monday -- a 21 gun salute to honor service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation.
Army veteran David Tyndall worries, though, that the meaning of Memorial Day is lost on many.
“Truthfully I think a large part is forgotten and it doesn’t come home to you until you’ve lost a family member or a close friend,” Tyndall expressed.
To the small group "Veterans for Peace," that meant marching to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common where those 37-thousand American flags honor the men and women from MA who have died defending the country from the revolution on.
“We come here to say that not only to honor these flags and these people who died from Massachusetts but all victims of war and most victims are civilians by far,” Army veteran Nate Goldshlag said.
“We absolutely honor those deaths but we feel they didn’t have to die. I didn’t have to lose my brother. My nephew to PTSD. I’ve lost a dozen family members to wars over the years since WWI,” said Bonnie Gorman, a Navy nurse in Vietnam who has seen and deeply felt the loss of war.
The members of "Veterans for Peace" hope the fact that they served gives their message of peace more weight.