Veterans carve wooden flags to honor memory of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home victims

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A gift of wood carvings resembling the stars and stripes will honor the memory of the more than 80 Holyoke Soldiers’ Home residents who died due to Covid-19 during the early days of the pandemic.

Holyoke Air Force veteran Mark Moynihan felt they needed a special salute. He knew of a Seabrook, New Hampshire veteran who carved the stars and stripes out of wood.

“I started thinking, what can I do that would mean something to survivors that survived, people that were still there in memory of their fallen friends,” Moynihan told 22News.

Steve Rita who carved the six wooden flags, shared his thoughts on honoring the memory of the Soldiers’ Home veterans that fell victim to the virus.

“First it just started as a hobby, it quickly became a passion, the reactions when you give these flags to someone, it grips your heart,” Rita expressed.

The brief service at the Holyoke War Memorial building will be followed up by a future ceremony at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, when the six craft wooden flags, representing the five military branches and the Soldiers’ Home, find a permanent place inside the facility.

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