More than 800 flags were used in the Healing Field display at Farmington High School last July.
More than 800 flags were used in the Healing Field display at Farmington High School last July. (Daily Times file photo)
FARMINGTON — Flags will wave this weekend to honor heroes.

The San Juan Rotary Club and Leadership San Juan will host the second annual Flags of Remembrance Healing Field memorial event. It starts Friday and runs through Memorial Day.

Last year's event was held on the Fourth of July. Organizers moved the healing field to Memorial Day this year partly because of hot weather and competing events in July.

The flag display pays tribute to the military and emergency first responders. This year's event is entitled "Lest We Forget: A time of remembrance, a time of honor."

Beginning at sunrise Friday, the Boys and Girls Club football field will be transformed in remembrance of the men and women who have sacrificed time and talent for their country and communities.

Rows of 800 8-foot poles with 3-by-5 foot flags and commemorative dog tags will neatly line the field for four days.

Farmington residents Jack and Pam Lee attended last year's event and hope to see it continue.

"It gives us an opportunity to honor people, to have a special day to think about them and pay tribute," Pam Lee said.

Last year, the Lees attended the memorial, sponsoring flags for Jack Lee, a retired World War II U.S. Air Force colonel, and for Pam Lee's father, an Air Force pilot who served in Korea and Vietnam.

This year, the couple bought four flags. One is to honor a cousin in the Air Force, and another is for Jack Lee's brother, who was an aviation cadet in the predecessor of the Air Force, the U.S. Army Air Corps. The couple's two sons, both of whom served in Vietnam — one as a U.S. Navy corpsman who served in the Marines and the other who served in the U.S. Army — will also have flags dedicated in their names.

"This is very important that we can honor those who served. A lot who served who didn't come home," Jack Lee said.

Proceeds from the event will be divided between the San Juan Rotary Club to fund its ongoing events and programs and the Farmington Blue Star Mothers, a veterans service organization that sends care packages to military members serving overseas and provides assistance to military families. Last year's healing field event raised $5,000 for Blue Star Mothers.

Melissa Meechan, the rotary club's president-elect, emphasized the inclusive nature of the event.

"This is to honor military and civilian heroes in our lives," said Meechan, whose father is a retired Marine and whose best friend is serving in Afghanistan. "Whether you have been touched by the sacrifice and efforts of a member of the military or by a teacher or neighbor, this is a chance to set aside the time to pay tribute to them."

The field will also have a prayer tent with seating. Area religious leaders will be on-site to offer support, if needed.

Children will be able to visit the "Dear Hero" booth and draw pictures or write letters to include in packages that the Blue Star Mothers will send to military members. They can also designate their artwork or notes to specific heroes.

For those bringing along a camera, the rotary club will run a photography contest with prizes. Blue Star Mothers and rotary committee members will be on hand to assist people in finding particular flags.

"Anybody — I don't care who you are — if you come and see this, it will absolutely bring tears to your eyes," Pam Lee said. "It is simply awesome, honoring heroes for their giving to our community and country is who we are."

IF YOU GO
What: Flags of Remembrance Healing Field memorial event
Opening Ceremony: 6 p.m. Friday, May 24
Honor Our Veterans Event: Noon Saturday, May 25
Honor Our Military Event: Noon Sunday May 26 
Honor Our First Responders Event: Noon Monday, May 27
Closing Ceremony: 5 p.m. Monday, May 27
Where: The Farmington Boys and Girls Club, 1825 E. 19th St.
Cost: Free to attend. Flags can be purchased for $55 and can be taken home after the closing ceremony.
More Info: Go to www.healingfield.org/farmington13 or call 505-860-3842

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @FentonDT.