BOSTON (CBS) – Remembering the fallen. A somber flag garden is springing up on the Boston Common, honoring the Massachusetts men and women who died, fighting our nation's wars.
It's a yearly ritual for hundreds of volunteers as we approach Memorial Day. They donate their time and effort to create the moving tribute to those who sacrificed, everything.
Every year for Memorial Day, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund pays tribute to the ultimate patriots with a moving display. It took 700 volunteers about an hour to plant 37,000 flags on the Common to honor members of the military from Massachusetts who died defending our country.
One by one, with gentle care, they placed the flags, each one standing in memoriam to a fallen soldier.
"To me, when it's all done, seeing a sea of flags is amazing. It's a life lost," said volunteer Joanne Conroy.
As volunteers move over a wide area of the Common, the flag "garden" grows, making you pause and consider war, peace, sacrifice, loss and inconsolable sorrow.
"What you see behind me is approximately 700 volunteers. They're going to plant 37,000 flags," said Tom Crohan the president of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, the organization that plans the flag memorial. "Each of those flags represents a patriot, somebody that has lost their life in service to our country dating back to the Revolutionary War to the present day."
Each volunteer has their own reasons for giving their time.
"I wanted to come out here because my father and grandfather were both veterans, and I think that the service they provide us is amazing. It's a privilege to be here," said Cloie Romano.
That holds even if you're a different kind of patriot. Several New England Patriots lent a hand.
"I wanted to be a part of it, for me personally, because my Dad served. He served in the Air Force. He retired when I was just a little guy. And I know he had friends who lost their lives, and I know this would mean a lot to him," says Patriot defensive tackle Adam Butler.
Even children were on hand to show their patriotism.
"I just wanted to be out here because I'm an American and I wanted to respect those who died for our freedoms," said Boy Scout William Remley.
"These flags, how they represent all these people, it's really amazing," added Adele, a Boston Girl Scout.
"I hope people will pause, even for a moment, and understand the significance of what Memorial Day is about," says Ed Scheinbart, a volunteer.
On Thursday, an additional 325 flags will be added, commemorating the lives lost since the 9-11 attacks.
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