Two new plaques were unveiled at the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial on Saturday at the Old North Memorial Garden. One plaque describes the dog tags as representing each American serviceperson who lost their life in the wars (the count currently stands at 6,970). The second plaque, a bronze poppy wreath, honors servicepersons from the British Commonwealth that have died.
Speaking at the ceremony were General (ret.) Martin Dempsey, former U.S. Joint Chief of Staff, General (ret.) Sir Mike Jackson, former British Chief of the General Staff and British Consul General Harriet Cross. The new plaques are courtesy of the Soldiers Fund, represented by Simon Boyd at the event with prayers by Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, Bishop Diocesan and Rev. Stephen T. Ayres, Vicar of Old North Church.
Located on the Freedom Trail between the Paul Revere Mall (Prado) and the historic Old North Church, the Memorial Garden has become one of the most recognized veterans memorials in Boston. Residents and visitors flow through the site on a daily basis with many taking a solemn moment to remember those who have fallen in these wars.
At the base of the garden are stone markers, indicating the number of veterans who have died in each of America’s wars, back to the Revolution. Since its inception in 2005, the garden has continued to evolve with added features to recognize our veterans.
Old North community member Bruce Brooksbank has painstakingly maintained the garden and continually enhances the viewing experience. Subtle symbolism includes red flowers representing sacrifice, and the red mulch representing the blood-stained earth from which peace (white flowers) would grow. The scattered stones are a liberal take on the Jewish tradition of leaving small stones at a grave-site with the “hope stone” occupying a dominate position.
The new plaques were unveiled a week after Veterans Day, November 11. This year was the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the World War I. In its annual tradition, Old North Church and The British Officer’s Club of New England hosted a Remembrance Sunday service.