1,000 American flags pay tribute to veterans and first responders, both past and present

The Field of Honor in Forest runs through Sept. 17

As U.S. Navy veteran Martin Freerks walked through a sea of 1,000 American flags, he couldn’t help but think about three of his Vietnam War shipmates, who were also his classmates at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg.

FOREST, Va. – As U.S. Navy veteran Martin Freerks walked through a sea of 1,000 American flags, he couldn’t help but think about three of his Vietnam War shipmates, who were also his classmates at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg.

“Ed Smith, Buster Kidd, and Jimmy Kidd. They’ve all passed. We were all brothers, a brotherhood. We were referred to as the ‘Lynchburg mob’ because we stuck together,” said Freerks.

They, along with others, are being remembered at the fifth annual Field of Honor, which is located outside of the Automated Conveyer Systems on Graves Mill Road in Forest.

The Forest Rotary Club organizes the display, where each American flag is sponsored for a veteran, a member of active-duty military, police, fire or healthcare worker.

“When you walk through the flags blowing in the field and you see names, these aren’t just any names. These are people,” said Linda Dinkle of the Forest Rotary Club.

The flags are on display through Sept. 17 and are free to visit.

A 28-foot memorial is also on display on Sept. 4 and 5. It features 7,000 dog tags to represent those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, and killed in combat since.

To honor all heroes, past and present, they’ll play taps every night at 7 p.m.

“Talk about emotional. You see the sunset, you see the flags waving, and the taps just touches your heart,” said Dinkle.

The Forest Rotary Club will host a special 9-11 ceremony on Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

You can still sponsor an American flag. Proceeds are donated to local organizations.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.