Moraine Valley Community College will be the site of a Field of Honor event Sept. 10 through 13. Field of Honor events, which feature a display of U.S. flags representing individuals being recognized or remembered, are held nationwide in conjunction with the Colonial Flag Foundation and local nonprofit organizations to honor the sacrifice of service men and women or to bring attention to people who have suffered a tragedy.
The Healing Field program began as a way to commemorate those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and has expanded to help raise money and awareness of various causes while providing a moving experience for those who visit the patriotic display.
The local project was started by Mike Lebarre, a Palos Hills alderman and member of the Hills Kiwanis Club, who read that Kiwanis clubs throughout the country were hosting Field of Honor events, and he thought it would be a worthwhile endeavor to bring to the community. The committee organizing it later asked Moraine Valley if the event could be held on the campus.
“It’s a wonderful spot because Moraine Valley is a cornerstone of our community,” Lebarre said. He believes having the display along 111th Street will make the flags highly visible to anyone driving by.
The flags will be placed by volunteers from the sponsoring organizations, Hills Kiwanis Club, Palos Lions Club and the Hickory-Palos Sertoma Club, as well as other local community groups. They anticipate installing approximately 200 flags that each represent someone who served or is currently serving in the military.
“Each flag was purchased by a family member or someone else who thought a particular person should be represented, and each has the name of either an active or deceased military person or someone who’s no longer in the military,” Lebarre said.
An opening ceremony will be held on Moraine Valley’s campus on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m., between the college’s main entrance and the tennis courts located along 111th Street. It will feature a welcome address by Palos Hills mayor, Gerald Bennett, a keynote address by Lieutenant Coronel Dale Carver, patriotic music and a reading of the names of those commemorated by a Field of Honor flag. An Honor Walk through the rows of flags will follow the ceremony. The event is free, and everyone in the community is invited to attend.
Lebarre and co-chair Alderman Donna O’Connell expressed their gratitude for the support his committee received from Moraine Valley to provide a convenient location for the event.
“Moraine Valley has been so involved in helping us make this successful,” he said.
Rick Hendricks, Moraine Valley’s vice president of Administrative Services, noted that the college was glad to offer assistance for the project. “We acknowledge the sacrifices our military men and women and veterans made for our freedom, and we’re happy to show our pride in their efforts,” he said.
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