Ahead of Memorial Day and the annual Newton Memorial Day parade this year, some 230 flags have been erected on bridges in Weston, Needham, and Newton. The flags are provided and installed by the Newton Sons of American Legion members and friends in the area, a tradition that has spanned the Weston area for many years.
Nick Pasquarosa, commander of the Newton Sons of American Legion post 440, is taking charge of the project in 2019, and was quoted as saying that they install 230 flags because there are 23 bridges along the tri-city area and they place 10 on each bridge. Pasquarosa’s brother Paul is said to have thought of the idea some six year ago, as a way to honor veterans during the Memorial Day holiday. Paul counted up the bridges along the three cities and ordered the 3x5 nylon flags, wanting them to be seen easily by passing cars.
The flags remain for about a week after the holiday, at which time they’re taken down and then washed and mended with care. Pasquarosa noted that they usually repair some 50-60 of the flags every year, as the wind and passing traffic tend to tear and shred them and they should be mended before being stored away for next year.
While the group has gotten positive feedback for their annual flag display, it has been noted that some flags have been vandalized over the years. Pasquarosa is not one to be deterred, however, as he’s also said that many generous donors have send in funds to have flags replaced when needed!
The flags are also prominent during the Newton Memorial Day Parade, as the parade follows the same route every year, from Newton North High School and finishing at the reviewing stand at Magni-Coletti Park in Nonantum. The city also has an annual wreath laying ceremony at the Newton Cemetery, beginning at 10 a.m., with officials taking time to read the list of names of veterans from the Newton, Weston, and other areas killed in battle from World War II onward. This year, the ceremony will be followed by a celebration to honor Newton and Weston area veterans still living, at City Hall at 11:30 a.m.
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