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"We need to be thankful": Fallen heroes honored at Memorial Day Flag Garden on Boston Common

37,000 flags on Boston Common honor fallen service members from Massachusetts
37,000 flags on Boston Common honor fallen service members from Massachusetts 02:18

BOSTON - Every Memorial Day for the last 20 years, you can find retired Army Captain Michael Shanks in the same place.

He reflects on the brothers and loved ones he's lost defending our country through the iconic display of the red, white, and blue at the Flag Garden on Boston Common.

"It gives me chills," said Ret. Capt. Shanks. "On this Memorial Day I just want people to have peace, peace within their heart."

Boston Common flags
Army veteran Captain Michael Shanks reflects at the Memorial Day Flag Garden on Boston Common CBS Boston

One by one, 37,000 American flags were planted at the base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, each one for every brave Massachusetts servicemember who paid the ultimate price since the Revolutionary War.

"These are our family members and our community members, and we applaud the ones who come home but not everyone comes home and this is our moment to remember those that don't come back," said Megan De France.

600 volunteers create Flag Garden   

Just as it took a labor of love from 600 volunteers to put each flag in place, it takes all the hands to remove the flags.  

A team of volunteers was ready to remove all the flags on Monday, but the expected rain delayed the plans until Wednesday, and they could use all the help they can get.

"We're going to have everyone that we can possibly have come in and do a rush job of pulling it all down before it rains again and have everything put away," said De France.

Though the delay means more time for those to stop by and pay their respects, like Ryan Deal from Idaho.

"All those flags represent somebody's life that didn't get to run their full course and that's a big gift we need to be thankful for that," said Ryan Deal.

A touching tribute of Old Glory for fallen heroes who's sacrifice will never be forgotten.

"Never forget the veterans because the veterans are number one," said Ret. Cpt. Shanks. 

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