“It’s just about bringing people together as a community,” Holaday said of the dedication ceremony. “It’s a really beautiful event, but I’m so glad it has been able to be an annualized ceremony.”
The bombings during the Boston Marathon this year also highlighted the importance of those who would rush in where others fear to tread, and the first two flags dedicated were for the victims of that tragedy as well as the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., late last year.
“Unfortunately in light of the tragedies we had this year,” said Holaday, “we have this Field of Honor to recognize veterans and those first responders and that just touches really deep this year.”
“Life is fleeting and fragile and we all have a role to play in making the time we have with each other a time of peace,” said O’Connor Ives. “We must also be mindful of the precarious times we are living in now, where innocent people are being harmed and killed and our nation is contemplating new intervention and the prospect of war. There are difficult decisions ahead. We need to remember the high price we pay with war and always make our voices heard.”
For the fourth year, Newburyport resident Nancy Jean Eagan dedicated a flag to her son, Matthew, who is currently serving in the Army and a sophomore at Norwich University.
“It reminds me of what a sacrifice all of these people have made,” said Eagan, “whether they be military or civilian. And as a mom it makes me proud of Matthew.”