A Boston hospital worker placed 500 American flags in a local park to honor veterans for Memorial Day after the city was forced to cancel its annual display due to the coronavirus.
Mary Gillen, a respiratory therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital, ordered hundreds of miniature flags and inserted them into the ground at Doherty Park, located in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.
“Those who have fought for us and have left us a fighting spirit. So, this is what we’re about,” Gillen told Boston 25 News. “Right now, I feel like the pandemic has taken a lot from everyone and right now we need a little something to celebrate.”
500 flags made by veterans at center of one woman’s tribute in Charlestown https://t.co/9YU6c5kxla
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) May 22, 2020
Usually, around Memorial Day, hundreds of volunteers plant more than 37,000 American flags on the Boston Common to recognize each service member as far back as the Revolutionary War. Now, the public is being asked to hang those flags inside their homes and businesses instead, WHDH reported.
“That kind of hit a chord with me, so I figured I’d buy my own flags and let our community enjoy a heroes garden here in Charlestown,” Gillen, who comes from a military family, said.
Her brother served in the Marines and her husband’s uncle was a former commander of the USS Constitution — the oldest remaining warship still afloat.
The gesture honors them, helps her neighbors, and puts a smile on her face.
“This makes me smile and that’s what we need right now. We need a little happiness and we need something to celebrate. And it just makes me feel good,” she said, smiling broadly as she watched her neighbors enjoy the display.