The Field of Honor has become one of the premiere events in the City of Murrieta, so much so that the City has designated it a “Signature Event.” The week of festivities brings people from all over southern California and touches hearts as far away as Afghanistan and other areas where our military serves. This year the Field expects to receive about 10,000 visitors. Look for it beginning on November 10th and continuing through the 17th.
The Murrieta Rotary Club’s Field of Honor story began in 2008 when member Bob Bryant brought the idea to the Club of flying full-sized American flags in a city park for the week surrounding Veterans Day, creating the opportunity for the community to honor the heroes in their lives. The challenge the first year was to generate the funds and support of the club members and community volunteers to make the project a reality. The sentiment and excitement for the project accelerated as the result of a meeting with then-Assistant City Manager and Murrieta city staff, who saw the synergy between the Field of Honor and the city’s development of the remarkable Veterans Memorial project in Town Square Park.
In 2009 the first Field of Honor, made up of 1200 flags, became a reality, thanks to the support of our sponsors, the embrace of the community and the City of Murrieta. This November you are welcomed by 2,018 flags honoring personal heroes.
Murrieta Rotary is most proud of the fifth-grade field trips to the field where about 2,000 students from the surrounding school districts attend the field and tour the various stations with a Murrieta Valley Unified School District approved lesson plan inserted into the middle of the Field’s commemorative magazine. This year students from Temecula Unified School District and Lake Elsinore School District will also attend.
Must-see events include the Candlelight Procession and Concert on Wednesday night, November 14, at 6:00 pm with combined middle school choirs singing patriotic songs and local thespians reading “Letters from War” representing our history from the Civil War to today’s sacrifices. On Thursday there is the Boy Scout Flag Retirement Ceremony, “The Final Salute,” with the burning of hundreds of flags that have completed their journey in a touching and respectable ceremony—the only approved way of disposing of flags that are tired and worn and have served their country well.
Opening Day activities on Saturday begin with a heart-felt salute to First Responders, those who work in police, fire, and other important fields of service. The day includes a Military Family Expo sponsored by the Women’s Council of Realtors with dozens of exhibitors providing resources for military families; a cut-a-thon courtesy of Paul Mitchell The School Temecula, food, and of course, our official Opening Ceremonies of the Field of Honor with a welcome from local dignitaries. The Marine Corps Birthday Celebration will also be held on Opening Day, November 10, at 11:30.
Come to the Field of Honor Saturday, November 10, through Saturday, Nov 17, between 9 and 5 to purchase (sponsor) a flag. Flag pick up is Saturday, November 17, 9 to 5, or Sunday, Nov 18, 9 to noon. Your flag can be dedicated to your personal hero. Flags that are not retrieved will be recycled next year.
Sunday will be the parade presented by the City of Murrieta. Also, the Murrieta Arts Council will present the Veterans Art Festival on the Field, including vendors and booths that celebrate all things patriotic and artsy where original art is for sale and music, food, drinks are available. Come to browse among the booths and to see the city parade all in one day.
It is the hope of the Club that visitors will appreciate this Field of Honor, visit often and, perhaps, share their stories with Murrieta Rotary at the booth or on Facebook and other social media with friends and family. Many thanks to all for the continued support and appreciation of this project and all of the Heroes in our lives that serve our nation and communities, both at home and abroad.
For more information on the Field of Honor, including how to purchase flags or become a sponsor, please see the webpage, www.MurrietaRotaryClub.com or visit Facebook.com/murrietafieldofhonor.
Photo: Jann Gentry