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Metfern Ceremony – To Pay Respect, Honor and Remember

The local community came together on Tuesday, July 24th to pay respect, honor and remember the individuals who were buried at the Metfern Cemetery in Waltham from 1947 – 1979.

The ceremony included Waltham City Councilor George Darcy and Lynn Musto, the Acton Site Director of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. The featured speaker for the ceremony included historian Alex Green, Gann Academy Instructor and former Chairperson of the Waltham Historical Commission

The program also included a moment of silence, a violin performance, a poetic reading (which is listed below), the sharing of thoughts from people in attendance, a reading of the names of those buried at Metfern and the laying of flowers at each grave.

Metfern Cemetery was designated as a place of burial for individuals who passed away while residing at either the Metropolitan State Hospital or the Fernald School, both which were located in Waltham.  These individuals did not have the finances or family members to pay for their burial or funeral. Over 300 people were buried at the Metfern Cemetery. Names do not appear on the graves just a letter and a number to indicate the faith of the deceased and the order of the burials.

Thank you to the event’s speakers & performers as well as to the members of the New England Peer Leadership Committee for organizing the Metfern Ceremony. In addition thanks to The Edinburg Center for donating the flowers and to Waverly Place for hosting the luncheon after the ceremony.

Metfern
We’re here today to witness
A difficult struggle
To make peace with the past.
Those buried below us live
In our blood
And stir our bodies.
We’re their children.
As we grow
And are almost free
We become citizens for liberty.
Prejudice still lies
But now we wave a flag
That signals freedom.

                        Daniel Sterne