Nate Homan and Derek Kouyoumjian

Memorial Day marks the harbinger of Summer, and is a national day of outdoor grilling and gatherings. But most importantly, it is a day to acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed to those who kept and continue to keep our nation safe. Both Boston and Cambridge paid tribute to the local heroes who fought to defend our freedom on Monday with a parade and a memorial gathering on the Common.

People gathered in Harvard Square and marched to the Cambridge Cemetery in celebration of the men and women in the armed forces. Marching bands, veterans, and active duty military members gathered joined families and friends on the Cambridge Common at about 9:30 a.m. for the cannon blast salute by the Massachusetts Bicentennial Battery.

37,000 American flags were planted on the Boston Common for the fallen soldiers of Massachusetts in a magnificent display of patriotism. Large crowds gathered by the pavilion in the Boston Common where flags flew at half-mast and an orchestra played in the pleasant evening sun. Summer had finally come following the worst winter in memory, and people of all ages came out in droves on a perfect day to honor the brave men and women of our armed forces. 

Here’s what you had to say:

“It’s a very impressive day,” said Tony Barrie, of Saugus.“ The country should really observe and think about the sacrifices that people made so we can that enjoy our freedom. We are forgetting that. And we need more participation of people, the children especially. To understand how fortunate we are that God gave us this country to enjoy our freedoms. Nowhere in the world are people are free as we are.

“As a combat veteran myself, we have a lot of combat vets in the Dirty Water Crews,” said Steve Thompson. “Memorial Day means to me, it’s special to remember the guys who didn’t make it home. So anything we can do to support our troops.

"It means that they’re very special, the people who died in the war,” said India Benzar, a little girl who attended Monday’s Cambridge parade. “My papa (great grandfather) fought World War II and Korea."