Guest Op-Ed: Commemorating Memorial Day and Honoring Those Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice for Our Country

By Councilor Ed Flynn

Monday, May 31st, was Memorial Day. This is a day to honor those that made the supreme sacrifice for our nation while serving in the U.S. military.

The origin of Memorial Day began when after the Civil War, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the head of a Union veteran organization, established Decoration Day on May 30th as a time for people to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the late 1860s, many different localities around the country were holding their own springtime tributes to fallen soldiers and those who died in war, and decorating their graves with flowers. The first large observance of Decoration Day was held in 1868 at the Arlington National Cemetery. Decoration Day continued to be observed on the local level and, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, with the change going into effect in 1971.

On Memorial Day, we honor the more than 1.1 million American military personnel who made the supreme sacrifice for their country while serving in uniform. We also honor our Gold Star Families, whose family members have paid the supreme sacrifice while serving in the military, and recognize the sacrifice that all Gold Star Families have made for our nation.

Boston has a number of events on Memorial Day, one of the most prominent being the annual flag garden in the Boston Common, where tens of thousands of American flags are placed to commemorate fallen soldiers dating back to the Revolutionary War. Other Memorial Day events include wreath laying ceremonies at the South Boston Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Medal of Honor Park), at the Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial in the South End, and the annual rededication of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in the South Boston Waterfront. The City of Boston’s Veterans Services and other local veteran organizations are also safely and individually placing flags at our military cemeteries in honor of those that paid the supreme sacrifice for our country, including with our Gold Star families.

I have sponsored and passed another resolution this year commemorating Memorial Day at last week’s Council meeting, so that the City of Boston can officially honor and pay tribute to those who made the supreme sacrifice in service to our country, including our Gold Star Families. Their bravery and sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Ed Flynn is the City Councilor for District 2 in the City of Boston.

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