The sprawling lawn at the entrance to Merced College has been filled with Red, White & Blue, and the waving motion of more than 2,000 flags.
The 2022 Field of Honor was inaugurated last Sunday and will continue this week as we celebrate Veteran’s Day on Friday, and on through closing ceremonies on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Last year’s record of about 1,800 flags purchased and displayed by those wishing to honor military veterans was easily broken on the first day this year, according to Darrell Cherf, the president of Merced Sunrise Rotary.
The Rotary Club helped bring the event to Merced after Rotarians Bob and Betsy Hobbs came up with the idea after seeing a similar patriotic display in Murrieta, California.
“This is my favorite and, in my opinion, most moving event in the Merced community,” Cherf said. “I enjoy witnessing the outpouring of patriotism and support for this week-long event that honors military members and first responders. We thank each of the honorees for all you do to keep our country, our community and our families safe.”
When exploring the field at the corner of M Street and Yosemite Avenue, people can find pictures and stories attached to the flags. There is also a History of the American Flags exhibit, a 9-11 tribute, and a Local Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Merced College is a partner in the Field of Honor, as well as the presenting sponsors, Joseph Gallo Farms and the Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation.
“How meaningful this is, to be able to drive to and from campus, and be able to see this,” remarked Mike McCandless, vice president of Student Services at Merced College. “It’s even more meaningful because each of these flags represent a story. It’s a testament to our community that we have more than 2,000 flags here… We are so proud to have it on our campus.”
The opening ceremony included music from the Merced High School Marching 100 and the Fremont School Honor Choir. The featured speaker was Dr. Clayton Diltz, who serves in the Air Force as the Wing Chaplain at the 144th Fighter Wing of the California National Guard in Fresno.