On Memorial Day last year, a flag garden was planted on the Boston Common. The flag garden was impactful on several levels. The organizers had made the effort; the city granted the permit; and the public treated the tribute with respect.
Boston is my city; and I was proud with what I saw that day.
The flag garden, with its seemingly endless bed of razor-sharp national flags, demonstrated in sheer volume the United States’ men and women who gave their lives in military service.
The flag garden was heartbreaking to see, if only for knowing what each flag represented. There were people behind those colors. They set aside their dreams so that you may pursue yours.
There’s a story behind each serviceperson—stories we’ll never know. Here in Boston, two members of the 1930’s Jordan Marsh Junior Aviation League—boys barely in their teens—grew up to be aviators, and were among the first to die in the Pacific War.
Two flags wave for those boys, on the same hill they might have flown their model planes in the post-Depression era.
The Boston Common Memorial Day flag garden was not a cemetery; it was a commemoration.
For every American who has a career, a family, a home—or the prospect to strive for such—the Memorial Day flag garden provided a place to give thought. America: You didn’t know most of them. They didn’t know most of you. But they gave their lives for you.
Ara Hagopian is an artist, writer and photographer from Massachusetts.