Field Of Flags Will Honor Military
New Martinsville’s Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the New Martinsville United Methodist Church will host the Field of Flags, a symbolic act that honors servicemen who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, for three weeks in August. Approximately 6,000 American flags will be set up along state Route 2 as part of a traveling flags movement. A dedication ceremony will take place Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. at the New Martinsville United Methodist Church.
The Field of Flags was dedicated on Oct. 23, 2005, at the Somers Congregational Church in Sommers, Conn. Members of the Memorial Garden Committee of the Somers Congregational Church placed 2,231 American flags, one for each American casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The flags were placed to honor those who have given their lives in the conflicts and to show that those who have died and their families and friends were remembered in prayer at the church.
The list of casualties, by state, was displayed on a name board by the Field of Flags, showing the name and rank of each American casualty. A notebook was kept in the church building with the name, rank, town, state, and date of death for each casualty.
The idea for a Field of Flags came about as members of the Memorial Garden Committee considered what the church could do to show support for the troops. Each casualty reminded them of the danger and increased the empathy they felt for the families of those who have died.
The Field of Flags had more impact than the committee envisioned, with the media coverage and emotional reaction from the community and beyond. People came from towns across Connecticut and from other states to see the flags and view the name board. Individuals and families have found the display to be emotional, yet comforting, in knowing that their loved ones have been remembered.
The Field of Flags is a silent, patriotic, and poignant reminder of the cost of war. Each flag represents not simply one casualty, but all the family members and friends who have been touched by that life, now gone. The flags represent respect for those who have served and are currently serving in the military and hope for peace in the future and for a time when no one is called by this country to give the greatest sacrifice. America continues to pray for the safety of all of its troops and for the families of the fallen heroes.
FIELD OF FLAGS FACTS:
The Field of Flags was dedicated in 2005 at the Sommers Congregational Church in Sommers, Conn. The church displayed 2,331 American flags, one for every American casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan;
New Martinsville will be the 49th location to join the prayer chain by hosting the display which has traveled from Maine to Florida;
Over 5,900 American flags will be displayed in the hillside adjacent to state Route 2 to remind people to pray for the safety of all of America’s troops and for the families of the fallen heroes;
In addition to the flags, the display includes a listing of casualties by name, rank, and state;
A new flag will be added during the sunset service each evening a casualty has been reported. The name board will also be updated;
A dedication ceremony will be held Aug. 13, 11 a.m., at the New Martinsville United Methodist Church.