Ashes from the Oath

Firefighters’ Monument in Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. John A. Wilson sculpted this bronze statue and relief images in 1909, and each year on the second Sunday in June members of the Boston Fire Department commemorate their fallen comrades.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts

Designed by landscape architect Henry A. S. Dearborn and opened in 1848, Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, is a historic rural cemetery. The area was originally owned by the town of Roxbury, until Boston annexed Roxbury in 1868. Its forested paths wind their way through 275 acres, in which approximately 16,000 people are laid to rest. Like many rural cemeteries, Forest Hills doubles as a garden and arboretum.

He that Keepeth Thee Will Not Slumber

Brookline architect Charles W. Panter designed Forest Hills Cemetery’s Gothic-Revival main gate, which was erected in 1865. It is made from Roxbury puddingstone and buff sandstone, which gives it a distinct appearance. An inscription from Psalm 121 over the entrance reads, “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.”

Boy in a Boat

Memorial to Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886), son of Louise Helluin Mieusset, who designed fashionable hats for Boston’s elites. She paid for this hauntingly lifelike white marble statue of her son sitting in a boat with all his favorite toys with money she saved for his schooling, leaving her grief stricken and penniless in her old age. According to popular lore, Louis drowned in Jamaica Pond, but some researchers maintain he actually died of scarlet fever.

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Some Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape

Some Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape
Monument to Lt. Col. Waldo Merriam (1839-1864) in Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Merriam commanded the 16th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, and then killed at the “Bloody Angle” during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864. The 16th MA was in II Corps, Fourth Division, 1st Brigade of the Army of the Potomac at Spotsylvania.

Bunker Hill Monument

The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the earliest engagements of the Revolutionary War, and the Bunker Hill Monument, a 221-foot granite obelisk, was one of our nation’s first monuments. Neither the battlefield nor the monument, however, are actually located on Bunker Hill. The monument sits atop Breed’s Hill, where most of the fighting occurred.

After the battles of Lexington and Concord, the colonial army besieged the City of Boston, which was held by the British. On the night of June 16, 1775, Colonel William Prescott led a force of 1,200 men onto the Charlestown Peninsula, across the Charles River from Boston, to fortify Breed’s Hill. They built a square earthen redoubt, from which they could fire artillery at British ships on the water and British forces in Boston.

On June 17, the British landed two columns on the peninsula, totaling 1,500 men, with 400 reinforcements joining the final attack, and stormed the colonists’ defenses. Though victorious, they suffered 226 dead and 828 wounded, the highest British casualty count of the war. The colonists lost 135 dead (including 20 prisoners) and 305 wounded.

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USS Constitution and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts

Compared to modern warships and aircraft carriers, the USS Constitution might not look like much, but it was once the most storied ship in the U.S. Navy. It was launched on October 21, 1797, and is still considered to be in active service.

The USS Constitution was originally a 44-gun frigate with a crew of 450 sailors, including 55 Marines. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. Today, she is still crewed by 60 active duty U.S. Navy personnel, though she has been in dry dock at the former Charleston Navy Yard in Boston under restoration for the past three years.

The USS Constitution Museum is a private, nonprofit museum located in a restored shipyard building nearby. It is a first class effort at telling the USS Constitution’s history through art, models and dioramas, hands on displays, and volunteers.

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Patriots Day: A Gut-Wrenching Portrayal of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing

Patriots Day follows fictional Boston police sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) as he helps track down brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who detonated two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The tragedy occurred at 2:49 p.m. local time on April 15, 2013. Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day on April 15 to commemorate the anniversary of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War. It’s estimated around 500,000 spectators attend the marathon. The bombs, made from pressure cookers, detonated 12 seconds apart, killing three and wounding approximately 264.

The film opens the night before the marathon, establishing a backstory for Sergeant Tommy Saunders. He is a well-meaning cop who got into a fight and has to pull guard duty at the marathon finish line before he can assume his regular duties. From there, we are shown snapshots of characters as they get up and start their day, but it is unclear how most of them will tie into the plot. We see future bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and daughter, at their apartment. Their morning is not typical, as one watches a video of masked terrorists demonstrating how to construct a pressure cooker bomb.

The terror, gut-wrenching shock, and confusion of the bombing is dramatically portrayed, as is the following manhunt. We see both law enforcement and the Tsarnaev brothers as they head for a fiery confrontation in the Boston suburb of Watertown. Moments of humor break up the dramatic, heart-racing scenes. During the final shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers, a man tosses a sledgehammer from his porch at police officers crouched behind the fence. “Give ’em hell!” he shouts, as if the crude melee weapon will do anything against the terrorists’ guns and homemade bombs.

It is meant to show defiance and resiliency in the face of terror, and Patriots Day is full of such crowd-pleasing moments, but how accurately does the film depict these events?

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