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     Fayetteville’s connection to the military is a strong one — one that the city embraces and celebrates. On Saturday, May 9, as a part of Glory Days, the Downtown Alliance will present once more the Field of Honor to the community. A sea of hundreds upon hundreds of American flags will grace the grounds of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum and flow out into the future site of Veteran’s Park, honoring those who have served, are currently serving and those who have died protecting our nation and securing our freedom.{mosimage}
     Although this event is largely about the military, there is something everyone can take away from this exhibit. The impact is sure to be impressive...think Arlington or Normandy and the emotional awe that comes with being in the presence of heroes and honoring our nations service men and women.
     “It is just an amazing, amazing feeling going through the Field of Honor,” said Carin Savel, the event coordinator. “We are honoring not just our military heroes, we are honoring who we are as a community, which is the most important thing. This is who Fayetteville is... come to the Field of Honor and see what Fayetteville is all about.”
     The public is invited to join in and recognize a service member with a flag, which will be adorned with a yellow ribbon and the name of the honoree, and then placed proudly with the others in the field where it will fly through Memorial Day. Based on last years’ participation, Savel is anticipating a great response.
     “We did 1,500 flags last year...and we are going to have 2,000 flags up this year,” she said.
     The fact that the families are so supportive of their service members is quite touching to Savel.
     “The stories are unbelievable...families that have two and three children who were KIA (killed in action) and they take out flags for them...we had a woman call to order a flag for her ex-husband and say ‘We are divorced ...we don’t do anything together, but I wanted to honor him anyway.’”
     Another family had flags representing four generations of service.
     “Last year we got flag orders from not just around the country but we had flag orders from as far away as Russia...it was unbelievable what was going on,” said Savel.
     The opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. and will be presided over by Joanne Chavonne and Dawn Mansfield at the 9/11 Memorial. The flags are an impressive size at 3’ x 5’ and will stand 8’ tall in a tight formation of rows and columns. Savel was sure to point out that all of flags were made in America. If you can’t make the ceremony and just happen to be downtown in the next month or so, take a few minutes, recharge your batteries and take a walk through the Field of Honor. Surely, whatever problems are on your mind will seem much smaller when you leave.
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