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A different Memorial Day
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/19/2020 12:03:16


Good morning.

The image above is a "Flag Garden". It suddenly feel ubiquitous, but the first one in the country was laid out in just 2010, right here in Boston. (because of course it was!) It's since spread nationally, and even into Canada (in conjunction with Armistice Day in the fall.)

But like everything else - it's not happening this year.

For the past ten years, Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund has asked members of the Commonwealth to join us in remembering our fallen heroes by creating the Boston Common Flag Garden and by reading the roll call of the fallen at a special ceremony in front of that flag garden. After much discussion and reflection on public health guidance for gatherings at this time, we have decided to cancel the large volunteer flag garden project, as we believe that is the safest course of action right now. Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is committed to facilitating some type of public tribute to the fallen in Boston for Memorial Day, and we are still working out those details.

We will also host our “Remembering & Honoring Massachusetts Military Heroes” roll call of the fallen ceremony online. This ceremony will still take place on Thursday, May 21st at 10:30am. The ceremony will be private to MMHF families only, and will feature remarks from dignitaries, a poetry reading and the reading of names of the Commonwealth’s post 9/11 fallen.

This year, we ask members of the Commonwealth to help us replicate our Boston Common tribute in cities and towns across our state. Supporters can participate in a “Virtual Flag Garden” by printing this flag graphic and placing it in windows over Memorial Day weekend, along with any available flags on front lawns.

We would be honored if you could post selfies and videos showing this support. Just please tag our social media accounts or send us your post so we can share. Our accounts are linked here – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please use the hashtag #HeroesFlagGarden.

My Scout Troop has been caught up in this. As long as I have lived in this city (24 years now), both Scout Troops in town have been going to the big cemetery in town on an annual basis and removing last year's flags and ensuring that veterans of all wars there have a new flag for the weekend. We also participate in the ceremony. But again - not this year. And nobody else is participating, either.

(WKOW) -- A Memorial Day weekend tradition that honors veterans has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs announced last week it will prohibit public events at national cemeteries during the holiday weekend. That includes groups placing flags at gravesites.

Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their Veteran’s gravesite.

“This year, by necessity, will be different from past Memorial Day observances,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “While the department can’t hold large public ceremonies, VA will still honor Veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”

Each VA national cemetery will conduct a brief wreath-laying ceremony, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. In keeping with CDC guidelines to limit large gatherings, the ceremonies will not be open to the public.

VA will also be launching a new way for the public to pay tributes to Veterans at the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM). The site, originally launched in 2019, contains a memorial page for each Veteran and service member interred in a VA national cemetery. Starting Thursday, May 14, VLM will permit online visitors to leave a comment of tribute on a Veteran’s page, introducing a new way to observe Memorial Day. The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a Veteran’s service. All comments will be reviewed for appropriateness prior to being posted.

It will be the easiest thing for all Americans to do this year to simply "overlook" Memorial Day. If you've been following along, you know vast swaths of this country find it more personally relevant to get a haircut, go to a strip club, or not have to wear a mask in public. I'd wager they would hardly notice the lack of any somber moments of remembrance this weekend.


9 comments (Latest Comment: 05/19/2020 16:26:22 by livingonli)
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