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Baker recalls ‘sacrifice’ of fallen service members at Memorial Day weekend flag ceremony on Boston Common

Governor Charlie Baker spoke at the 13th annual Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund Memorial Day ceremony Thursday morning in front of more than 37,000 American flags on Boston Common. The flag garden honors fallen Massachusetts service members who sacrificed their lives for their country since the Revolutionary War.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker told families of fallen military heroes Thursday that hearing the names of their lost loved ones read out loud is “the most powerful and impactful moment of Memorial Day weekend.”

“We all know we sit on the shoulders of every one of these flags behind me, and the families and the stories and the histories that they represent,” Baker said, speaking at a ceremony that was held at the Memorial Day flag garden on Boston Common Thursday morning.

Baker spoke against a backdrop of over 37,000 American flags that were planted in honor of every Massachusetts service member who sacrificed their lives for their country, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War.


At Thursday’s ceremony additional flags were placed by family members in honor of the 388 fallen military heroes who died since 9/11 as their names were read aloud.

Baker said hearing the names of fallen service members spoken out loud is a reminder of “the size of the human cost and the human loss and the human sacrifice that comes with all of this.”

“To those of you who are going to take this walk today, I just want you to know that for me and for the lieutenant governor, it is in many ways the most powerful and impactful moment of Memorial Day weekend, and has been every time we’ve been here to watch you walk up here and speak the name again, of your lost loved one,” Baker said. “In some respects it’s a constant reminder to all of us that it’s more than just it’s not free, this thing we call freedom. People pay an enormous price, so that the rest of us can benefit from it.”

Creating the flag garden has become an annual event for the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, a private nonprofit that provides support to the families of Massachusetts military personnel who died as a result of active duty service after Sept. 11.


“The completed garden is a breathtaking tribute to the true meaning of Memorial Day and a powerful message of community support to the families of these fallen heroes that their sacrifices will never be forgotten,” the organization’s website states.

The Memorial Day Flag Garden is scheduled to be on display at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Boston Common until May 30, according to the website.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.