Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins last week proudly announced a virtual memorial for the soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who bravely served our nation and were residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea and died within the past two months, most of them succumbing to COVID-19.
The site went live on Friday, May 22.
“On this very different Memorial Day weekend, my Office is partaking in a campaign in which we will honor veterans who have a special connection to Suffolk County,’’ said DA Rachael Rollins. “They called the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea home. And they served in at least two wars: they survived an armed conflict only to die during a global pandemic.
“We owe no higher debt than to those who protected our freedoms in war and in peace. In these unprecedented times, when a disproportionate number of our elders are stricken by the pandemic, we must honor them and in particular those who served our nation. I come from a long line of veterans, and I felt the urgent need to remember these heroes.”
A link to photographs and biographical sketches of the heroes will be placed on the office website and will be organized chronologically by time of service. Images of the heroes will also be posted on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The display will honor more than 30 individuals initially. There are eight from World War II, eight from the Korean Conflict, 15 from the Vietnam War, and two who served in both the Korea and Vietnam eras.
“My office has been closely monitoring the Soldiers’ Home and
the circumstances surrounding each death since the State of Emergency was declared,” Rollins said. “When I first requested the review there were three COVID-19 related deaths in Chelsea. As of today (May 21), there are 38 deaths. We have been in contact with many of the surviving family members during our review and sincerely offer them our heartfelt condolences for their loss. Some wanted to grieve in private and requested we not include their loved ones in this memorial. We will, of course, honor their wishes.
“I want to thank our Massachusetts State Police unit, whose members worked on this matter, reached out to families, and gathered information critical to the memorials.”
Friends and family will have intimate memories of the heroes that transcend one weekend a year. “Today, we honor and remember their sacrifice,’’ said DA Rollins. “Tomorrow, and every day thereafter, we must strive to live a life worthy of that sacrifice. This is how we will honor their memory. It is the very least that they deserve.”