Boston’s Memorial Day flag garden idea spreads across the US - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Boston’s Memorial Day flag garden idea spreads across the US

Posted: Updated:
BOSTON -

The solemn display of tens of thousands of U.S. flags that first appeared on Boston Common for Memorial Day a decade ago, honoring service members who have died defending the nation, is slowly becoming a national movement.

The flag gardens, as they are known, can be seen this weekend in Texas, Louisiana, Ohio and New York, all started by local residents inspired by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund tribute started in 2010.

“We are extraordinarily proud that what we intended to do for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been brought to a scale that we never fully anticipated,” said Tom Crohan, president of the nonprofit’s board of directors.

The concept has even spread to Canada, where thousands of Canadian flags are planted in Toronto on Remembrance Day in November, when Canada honors its military members who have died in the line of duty.

The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund was founded in 2009 to support to the families of active duty service members killed since 9/11.

The first sea of fluttering stars and stripes included 20,000 flags, one for every Massachusetts resident who gave their life in war since World War I. This year, more than 37,000 flags honoring those who have died dating to the Revolutionary War have been planted.

What makes the stirring display so special is that it’s so unexpected. Most people who see it are just walking across the Common for another reason, Crohan said.

“It’s almost impossible to walk past that site without stopping,” Crohan said.

That’s what happened with Chuck Schneider, executive pastor of Sagemont Church in Houston. Schneider and his wife were on vacation in Boston three years ago and on the way to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game when they saw the flag garden.

“I was so moved that I immediately thought I’d like to do the same thing in Texas,” he said.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers from the church’s congregation, 38,000 flags are planted on church grounds, each one representing a Texan who died in service dating to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Janet Broussard, a member of the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana, was inspired by pictures of Boston’s tribute. For five years now, the organization has planted 11,000 flags on Statehouse grounds in Baton Rouge.

Karen Carmen, community services director for the city of Beachwood near Cleveland, saw an article about the Boston display in her local newspaper. Since 2012, the city has been painting a 30-foot-by 60-foot U.S. flag on city property and decorating it with hundreds of smaller flags.

Like Crohan, they say they get the greatest satisfaction from visitors’ reactions.

“The thing that I love is when you see families solemnly and slowly walk by, probably thinking of a special loved one,” Carmen said.

Broussard’s favorite moment was the time a little girl of about 4 whose father had died in Iraq visited the Baton Rouge flag garden.

“She asked ‘Which one is my Daddy’s?’ That just made it all worthwhile,” Broussard said.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Friday, October 19 2018 1:04 AM EDT2018-10-19 05:04:39 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>
  • Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Friday, October 19 2018 6:51 PM EDT2018-10-19 22:51:23 GMT

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>
  • K9 Laslo passes away

    K9 Laslo passes away

    Friday, October 19 2018 10:50 PM EDT2018-10-20 02:50:33 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Cantwell and Hutchison square off in Senate debate

    Cantwell and Hutchison square off in Senate debate

    Saturday, October 20 2018 7:04 PM EDT2018-10-20 23:04:20 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and her Republican challenger Susan Hutchison will square off for a second time Saturday at Spokane Community College in Spokane. Cantwell is seeking her fourth term in office, while Hutchison served six years as the Washington state Republican Party Chair before stepping down earlier this year.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and her Republican challenger Susan Hutchison will square off for a second time Saturday at Spokane Community College in Spokane. Cantwell is seeking her fourth term in office, while Hutchison served six years as the Washington state Republican Party Chair before stepping down earlier this year.

    >>
  • Trump hopes to pick UN ambassador from 5 candidates

    Trump hopes to pick UN ambassador from 5 candidates

    Saturday, October 20 2018 7:03 PM EDT2018-10-20 23:03:26 GMT

    ELKO, Nevada (AP) - President Donald Trump says he hopes to select a U.N. ambassador to replace Nikki Haley very soon and is interviewing 5 candidates for the job.    Trump said Saturday after a campaign rally in Nevada: "We'll have somebody great ... we're going to pick somebody very quickly."

    >>

    ELKO, Nevada (AP) - President Donald Trump says he hopes to select a U.N. ambassador to replace Nikki Haley very soon and is interviewing 5 candidates for the job.    Trump said Saturday after a campaign rally in Nevada: "We'll have somebody great ... we're going to pick somebody very quickly."

    >>
  • High school football team returns to the field after Hurricane Michael

    High school football team returns to the field after Hurricane Michael

    Saturday, October 20 2018 5:29 PM EDT2018-10-20 21:29:03 GMT
    Courtesy of Ben Hershey via UnsplashCourtesy of Ben Hershey via Unsplash

    Hurricane Michael delivered quite a punch when it hit the Florida teenagers who make up the Mosley High Dolphins football team.    But just 10 days later, the Dolphins were ready to punch back. The local high school played against Pensacola on Saturday afternoon in downtown Panama City, providing a little normalcy after a storm that has forever altered their lives. 

    >>

    Hurricane Michael delivered quite a punch when it hit the Florida teenagers who make up the Mosley High Dolphins football team.    But just 10 days later, the Dolphins were ready to punch back. The local high school played against Pensacola on Saturday afternoon in downtown Panama City, providing a little normalcy after a storm that has forever altered their lives. 

    >>