SIDNEY — Imagine a city park field filled with 1,000 flag poles, each flying the Stars and Stripes against a brilliant, late summer sky.
That’s the picture the Shelby County Historical Society hopes to create when it erects the Field of Valor just before Labor Day. The display will be one of several events comprising the Week of Valor, a tribute to America’s wars and the people who fought them, on the battlefield and on the home front.
“We will exhibit the AVTT-TWF Traveling Wall, which is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., also,” said Tilda Phlipot, director of the historical society. “And there will be a display in the Ross Historical Center of artifacts.” Also planned are a speech by retired Army Col. David Taylor; an exhibit of art by veterans, a cruise-in, a bridge rededication, a band concert and Sept. 11 tribute, a motorcycle parade at the wall, a breakfast, church services, a 5K run/walk and other activities.
“But first, our goal is to sell 1,000 flags and have them all flying over Custenborder Park here in Sidney,” Phlipot added.
The Field of Valor is a program that honors veterans, first responders, home-town heroes and loved ones.
“Anyone can purchase a flag for $30. It will fly as part of the Field of Valor with a dedicatory placard on it. Flags can be dedicated in honor or memory of anyone, not just veterans. People at home have served our country just as much as those in the military. And even though our exhibits during the Week of Valor event will focus on the military, we want the Field of Valor to honor and memorialize all loved ones from all wars and historical periods,” she said.
Flags can be picked up by purchasers at the end of the event. Flags can be shipped to purchasers for an additional $5 fee.
“In 2010, we had a similar field of flags and area residents purchased 1,200 flags. It was something to behold, especially at night,” Phlipot said.
This year’s field will be open 24/7 from 8 a.m. Aug. 31 through 4 p.m. Sept. 6. People can walk among them, read the tags, and enjoy the silence of the special place the field will be.
This year, in addition to individuals’ purchasing flags, local corporations have also purchased flags for each veteran on their staffs. Other businesses are encouraged to do the same.
“It’s the perfect way for employers to let the veterans who work for them know that their service to their country is appreciated,” Phlipot said.
To order a flag, contact the Shelby County Historical Society at (937) 498-1653 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.