{mosimage}Fayetteville will see an explosion of red, white and blue on May10-27 as more than 1,500 American flags fly at Festival Park and the Airborne Museum (extending all the way to Freedom Memorial Park) in honor of our Veterans — retired, active duty and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
This galaxy of stars and stripes is a result of Fayetteville being named the host city for the 2008 Field of Honor, which is going on in conjunction with the 8th Annual Glory Days Festival.
  Each flag measures three-feet-by-five-feet and will fly eight feet above the turf in perfect rows, with a yellow ribbon affixed to each flag pole. Set-up will begin May 9 and take just one day, but, according to Suzy Hrabovsky — one of the organizers of the event — it’s an idea that’s been a year in the making.
    Hrabovsky says individuals and corporations have paid to sponsor the flags; in fact the demand has been so high to sponsor a flag that Hrabowsly said an additional 300 flags were ordered when the original goal of 1,200 was surpassed. Individuals paid $25 to purchase a flag and the aforementioned yellow ribbon will bear the name of the flag’s sponsor as well as the flag’s honoree.
    And for each flag there is a story behind the stars and stripes  — often heartbreaking.
    “Flags have been bought by parents and spouses of victims, even children,” said Hrabovsky. “A father{mosimage}{mosimage} died in a helicopter crash.
    “One of the ladies I talked to bought a flag because she was excited that her son was coming home,” said Hrabovsky. “In a lot of instances, flags were purchased in honor of soldiers who are coming home.”
Hrabosky says folks have called from all over the country to sponsor a flag — there was even one call from Russia.
    All proceeds from the flag sponsorships go to Fayetteville Cares — a local organization that provides assistance to military personnel and their spouses before, during and after deployments.
    “It’s a great organization,” said Hrabovskyy. “If a military spouse needs money for an emergency or a soldier is in trouble, Fayetteville Cares is there for them.”
    The flags will be set up on May 9 by an army of volunteers, including 100 Boy Scouts led by Mike Archer.
On May 10 at 11 a.m., there will be a dedication ceremony at Freedom Memorial Park. The dedication will include music, a color guard, the Pledge of Allegiance, and speakers made up of state and local officials, as well as the military. The color guard band will finish things off by playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The dedication kicks off the Glory Days Festival; this year’s theme for the festival honors military vets of the Vietnam War. Events include: A classic car cruise-in at Festival Park; a bake sale; live music at Festival Park; the N.C. State Cyclists Criterion Championship; The Fayetteville Swampdogs baseball team; ‘Patriot’s Crit’ on Hay Street; a Sunday Movie in the Park featuring, showing Good Morning Vietnam (May 25); which will feature free admission and free popcorn; a vintage military equipment and gear exhibit; carriage rides; foods, arts and crafts, and concessions.
    “This is just our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women in the military who protect us,” said Hrabovsky, “and the ones who never made it home.”

  Contact Tim Wilkins: 


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