“We owe it to those we lost’: Boston works to honor legacies of Cocoanut Grove fire victims

Monday marks 80 years since the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire, when 490 people lost their lives in the Bay Village neighborhood of Boston.

“There’s a special place in heaven not only for the people who died in the Cocoanut Grove, but for the people who kept this memory alive, so no one else would go through that same suffering and ordeal,” said Raymond Flynn, former Boston mayor.

Decades later, city leaders are working hard to make sure no one forgets this tragic fire.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says the city proposes spending 300,000 dollars on a new Cocoanut Grove memorial, which will feature the names of the hundreds who died at the club on Piedmont Street.

“We owe it to those we lost, the survivors and families who continue to be impacted by this terrible tragedy to create a world where this tragedy would be impossible,” said Mayor Wu.

The devastation sparked some innovations in firefighting methods, new building codes, and medical treatments for fire victims that are still used decades later.

Mayor Wu says the fire also paved the way for advancements in mental health.

“As our communities grappled with a loss, a psychiatrist at MGH began conducting what would eventually be a groundbreaking study on trauma that would redefine our understanding of grief,” said Mayor Wu.

While dozens gathered to honor the victims and the families left behind, many hope a new memorial will make sure this historic fire will have a lasting legacy for generations to come.

“Not only will this memorial uplift the memories of all those lives we lost and the first responders who rushed to the scene, it will remind us of what we as a city have always done in moments of great sorrow and struggle - we come together, we unite as a community,” said Mayor Wu.

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