By Richard Campbell

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Patriot Week got a pretty fine kick off on Armed Forces Day this past Saturday, with a celebration on Lawn D in South Boston outside the Boston Convention Center. The 2nd annual Patriots Festival brought thousands of supporters who came to honor the fallen, Gold Star Families, troops in service, veterans, and naturally friends and family of all the troops. The headliners Tyler Farr and Eric Paslay bands were opened by a number of well-known local groups- each with their own distinctive styles- and then the headliners rocked young boisterous fans who sang out lyrics by heart well into the evening.

The National Guard, Army, and Coast Guard, were the most visible service members with soldiers on hand. Some service members had recently returned from tour of duty in Iraq- joined others serving stateside to meet and greet the public, and offer friendly support to the cause. They picked the cream of the crop for this casual detail, as when South Boston Online inquired about everything from the management of our harbor to individual tours of duty; these young men and women impressed with their knowledge, and easy comportment. This concerts kicks off an annual series of events that I suspect will continue to grow in audience as it is only in its second year, but has full sponsorship from multiple business and community groups.

In between the in-stage entertainment were video feeds and photography on a jumbo screen from active duty troops overseas- wishing their families and the people of Boston well from their respective posts. Some veterans’ groups and ceremonial units, like the Concord Independent Battery sporting original canons from 1814, added a feeling of tradition to the event. While this was essentially a full day rock / country concert mingled with ample refreshments, vendors and support groups connected on the lawn taking contributions, and people exchanged stories of their own fallen heroes, or the living ones, who are putting their lives on the line for the nation. All proceeds from the show are going to benefit the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes. To find out more, or make a contribution, visit