For every person in the state who dies from the virus, the Labbe family in Grafton has planted a flag in their front yard. There are now 8,013 flags.
“People have died in the hospital without families around, so we just wanted to give back to them,” Melissa, one of the children, told Boston 25 News.
The family also gives thanks to the men and women on the front lines, including first responders, nurses and doctors, calling them the true heroes of the pandemic.
Word of the tribute has spread across the state. Some families drive an hour or more to see the stirring display. The Labbes ask visitors to maintain social distancing.
“I think it’s nice for them to go through all the trouble of doing that to honor everyone,” said Janice Norsigian, who came from Milbury. Her brother-in-law died from the virus.
Until now, the Labbe home was only known for its impressive Christmas decorations.
While the family has taken a hit financially during the pandemic, the Labbes have refused donations. The tribute has cost thousands of dollars, but the most immediate concern is that the yard is running out of space for more flags.
“We are still hoping it doesn’t go too much more, but we may have to,” Melissa said.