BOSTON (CBS) — The annual flag garden on Boston Common in honor of Memorial Day will not be happening this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the public is being asked to display American flags on their homes and businesses.

“We are making the announcement early so our volunteers know they shouldn’t come to the Common next week,” said a statement from the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund.

The group organizes 37,000 flags to honor the fallen service members from Massachusetts dating back to the Revolutionary War. It has been a tradition for the last ten years and requires more than 500 volunteers.

“It’s been an extraordinary day and we are all are saddened. Believe me, I would love to be out there on the Boston Common serving with others,” Massachusetts Miltary Heroes Fund, President Tom Crohan told WBZ-TV. “We believe the thoughtful thing to do is pivot and not ask the 500 volunteers to plant 37 thousand flags. We just didn’t feel like we could do it safely.”

Flags on Boston Common for Memorial Day 2019 (WBZ-TV)

To help honor the tradition, hang one or more flags from your windows on May 21 through Memorial Day and post it on social media with the #HeroesFlagGarden.

A printable flag from the MMHF is available here.

The group is hoping at least 37,000 flags will be hung.

There will also be a virtual ceremony where the names of the fallen heroes will be read aloud.  “There is a name behind each of these flags and a family that is left behind,” Crohan said.

“We are going to miss it this year in person but we are not going to miss the spirit of what we are asking the community to join us in doing, which is pay respect.”

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