Fallen Service Members Honored on Boston Common

Alma Hart, mother of faller Mass. soldier PFC John Hart, reads "We Remember Them" and Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund flag tribute on Boston Common.

With over 33,000 small American flags planted in the ground on Boston Common, dozens gathered nearby Thursday to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

Each flag represented a U.S. serviceman or woman from Massachusetts who has died in uniform since the American Civil War, and each flag was planted by volunteers with the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund.

“This display stops people directly in their tracks,” said Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund President Steve Kerrigan. “And that, of course, is exactly the point.”

“We shall never forget the sacrifices made by those who gave us our freedom today,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

The names of 187 military members who died in service were read aloud by family members of those lost, and an additional 187 flags were planted at the tribute.

Gov. Deval Patrick called the display at the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial “an extraordinarily powerful silent tribute to the cause to freedom.”

Patrick recalled the recent bombings attacks at the Boston Marathon in his remarks.

“Out of the dust of that tragedy emerged a stronger sense of community, in some respects, than we’d ever seen,” Patrick said. “I hope today we’ll remember not just that sacrifice but the living remnants of sacrifice, that sense of togetherness and common cause.”

The flags will remain in place until Monday evening at sunset, Kerrigan said.

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