Community celebrates flag day

·2 min read

Jun. 14—NORTH ANDOVER — On Saturday, dozens of names were read out on the North Andover Commons. The names were people who had served either their community or country, whether that be in the military, police or by other means.

The names had a visual representation in the 500 flags spread out over a field. It's called a field of honor and many of those flags left the field that day and found a home with the families of those that they honored.

The celebration was put on by the Exchange Club of Lawrence and the Andovers. Member Bob Wescott led the ceremony.

"We are one people, sharing not ethnicity, not origin, not country of origin, not race, but ideals, freedom knits us together," Wescott said.

Former Navy Seal, coffee chain owner and Massachusetts Senate candidate Sal DeFranco, spoke at the event, saying that while the specifics of how people serve can vary widely, other aspects tend to stay the same.

"Though our experiences were different, our reasons for service were the same, to defend and protect the constitution of the United States of America, to defend and protect those who cannot defend themselves and to protect the freedoms that those who have gone before us have fought and died to persevere," DeFranco said.

Music was also heard in between speeches, with the Merrimack Valley Concert Band performing several patriotic songs.

Among the crowd that day was Peggy Taylor, a Boxford resident, there with her three grandchildren. Taylor was there to remember Wayne Taylor, who died in 2020 and who was a veteran of the Vietnam War. Taylor said her husband always spoke about his service with pride.

"He was a very, very proud serviceman who wore his navy cap all the time," Taylor said.

Mike and Kristi Lane of North Andover also received an award at the event for their commitment to displaying the American flag.

"Ever since we got married we have always had a flag at our house," said Mike Lane. We are both children of veterans, my father served in the Marine Corps, her father served in the army."

Mike Lane also works for the Andover Police Department.

The Exchange Club of Lawrence and the Andovers has been a part of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover for more than 75 years.