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A Boston hospital worker has helped place 500 American flags in a park to honor veterans for Memorial Day after the city canceled its large annual display because of the coronavirus.
The hundreds of miniature flags ordered by Mary Gillen – who is battling the coronavirus daily as a respiratory therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital – were made by veterans, according to WFXT. They were inserted into the ground at Doherty Park 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 the station. “Right now, I feel like the pandemic has taken a lot from everyone and right now we need a little something to celebrate.”
Around each Memorial Day, hundreds of volunteers normally plant more than 37,000 American flags at Boston Common in recognition of every service member from the state dating back to the Revolutionary War, WSVN reports. But this year, the public is being asked to hang them in their homes and businesses instead.
“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 told WFXT.
Gillen comes from a military family. She explained her brother was a Marine and her husband’s uncle was a former commander of the USS Constitution — the world's oldest commissioned warship that is still afloat.