Thousands of American flags were planted in Boston Common on Wednesday as part of an annual Memorial Day weekend tribute to fallen service members.
The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families of military members who have been killed in the line of duty, organized the event, in which 37,268 flags were planted this year in the Boston park.
The exact number of flags has a special meaning.
“Every flag represents a fallen service member from Massachusetts since the beginning of the Revolution,” Steve Kerrigan, an organizer of the event, told Fox 25 Boston.
Event organizers said about 650 volunteers planted the flags, from the top of a small hill, "down to the sidewalks,” MassLive.com reported.
Volunteer Vicki McKenna told Fox 25 that the flags are a way to honor the officers and their loved ones.
"All these flags represent somebody whose lost their lives, and they all have families," McKenna said.
"All these flags represent somebody whose lost their lives, and they all have families."
Combat veteran Carole Ferschke told the station that she has lost many friends over the years.
"She was suffering in silence. None of us knew. It was heart-wrenching," Ferschke said of a fellow veteran. "It really helps me have some closure about some of this."
Kerrigan said that the flag garden stays up only through Memorial Day weekend, but believe that's “long enough to get their message across.”
That message is about remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day, which some believe has gotten lost as the holiday weekend has grown to represent the beginning of summer.
"Cape Cod traffic and cookouts and stuff dominated the news cycle and dominated peoples' focus around Memorial Day," Kerrigan said.
The flags are a reminder that the holiday is first and foremost about the “soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen who didn’t make it home,” Kerrigan told MassLive.com.
"We want to make sure Memorial Day is about honoring them," Kerrigan said.