Cathedral City volunteers and members of the Rotary Club hosted the opening ceremony in Patriot Park for the week-long installation Fields of Valor.
Jo Anne Kennon, event organizer and Fields of Valor co-chair, says Patriot Park has honored veterans for over a decade.
“We hope to bring awareness to the veterans who survived the war and the veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to protect our freedom,” says Kennon.
Volunteers of all ages help set up flags on the “Heilfeld”.
An American flag will be placed on each pole by the end of the week.
Rita Lamb, Mayor Pro Tem of Cathedral City, says: “Individuals who are in the community can participate by bringing a flag and laying down the flag. And so throughout the week this whole field will be filled with flags to commemorate those who have gone before us.”
This year’s event aims to honor all veterans, regardless of when or where they served.
“There are nearly 1,300 Veterans Flags representing lives lost in California including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re all local veterans because we wanted to bring that closer to home,” says Kennon.
Marine Lt. Col. Jim Irwin attended the ceremony Saturday in support of his mother, Cpl. Dorthee Irwin, who first joined the Marines in 1943.
In addition to attending the ceremony, Irwin and his family took some time to help set up the flags commemorating those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s amazing to see how many are here. This is a healing field. I did it out of respect for them. And there’s no other way to put it. Deep respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” says Lt. Colonel Irwin.
A special ceremony will be held on November 11th on Veterans Day at 4 p.m. in Patriot Park
You can also visit the Fields of Valor until November 12th when they have a closing ceremony at 12pm.