After the Memorial Day parades end and before the fireworks of Independence Day fly, Springfield has another tradition of keeping the patriotic spirit and the memories of military service members who served their country in the public eye.
For a decade, Honor Field, which runs D-Day, Thursday, June 6 to Flag Day, June 14, displays 300 American flags representing U.S. military members on the front lawn of the Jackson, Lytle & Lewis Life Celebration Center, 2425 North Limestone St.
Visitors can pay respects and reflect on the sacrifices for our freedom at any time as the display will be open 24 hours during the nine-day period. Admission is free and the display is family-friendly.
A special “Lunch with a Veteran” program will open things at noon on Thursday, June 6 at the Life Celebration Center. The public is invited to attend the free event; RSVPs are required at 937-399-2811.
The display has become a Springfield tradition and organizer Frank Lewis is glad to oblige. A decade ago he just wanted to bring the area something different to show appreciation for veterans and something more emerged.
“That first year we didn’t know what the response would be, but it left us no doubt. Now we wouldn’t think of not doing it,” Lewis said.
People will just stop by to enjoy the spectacle and memorialize veterans’ sacrifices. Lewis said the the feedback speaks for itself.
The lunch event, which started last year, is an additional way to thank living veterans and do an outreach with the public. There were around 20 veterans and about 186 community members who attended in 2018 to talk and dine together.
“There’s a certain pocket of people who really want a platform for the community and veterans to interact in a comfortable manner, to say thank you to our veterans, in person,” said Lewis.
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Lewis credits many volunteers and sponsors for helping Honor Field come off successfully, such as Forest Glen Health Campus and Wooded Glen Health Campus, which are providing the meal and desserts.
The public has shown its appreciation in many ways. The project has raised more than $60,000 in donations that have gone to organizations supporting veterans. Organizations and individuals can help by sponsoring a flag or just make a donation. The Life Celebration Center also supports other veterans’ causes such as discount services for deceased veterans, a cell phones for soldiers campaign and the Senior Dream Center, which helps numerous area seniors.
With the popularity of Honor Field, Lewis can foresee it staying a local celebration of military veterans for years to come and looks forward to it.
For more information on Honor Field, go to www.facebook.com/events/462959237567892/.
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