In 2010, twenty three cities across the United States hosted a Healing Field/Field of Honor. Eagle is the only host city in the state of Idaho. There is a unity felt amongst the volunteers and sponsors in the fields across the United States. Sponsoring the Eagle Field of Honor is adding your business to a list of others who have seen the positive impact the event has on a community.
The Field of Honor is an annual event that was first seen in the Treasure Valley in 2008. Initiated by then-Mayor Nancy Merrill, the Field of Honor was flown in Eagle. It created an emotional display for veterans, currently serving military personnel, their families, and each individual that witnessed it. To date, over 1,000 veterans and service men and women have been individually honored in the Eagle Field of Honor. Though a majority of the veterans honored are from Idaho, several veterans from all over the United States have been recognized in the event. Flags flown in this local field have been sent to men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The flags are folded in the traditional triangle so they fit in a soldier’s pack. We also send pictures of the event so they can see the field the flag flew in. In Hailey, we presented a flag to the city for POW Bowe Bergdahl, to fly at city hall until his safe return home. The Field of Honor is a reminder to the men and women currently serving, that here at home, they are not forgotten. It is a tribute to all of the veterans who fought for us. Rex Osborne, Lt. Col.(ret) states:
“…emotion is what I feel when I see Eagle’s Field of Honor. Nothing in the world trumps the feeling when you return home from an odd corner of the world and you first see the flag! What a glorious sight! What a wonderful gesture to so honor veterans here in Idaho.”
Each flag in the field has a story. The flag represents an individual whose story is unique to him or her regardless of the branch of service or the campaign served. From the WWII veteran walking with a grandchild to a young soldier kneeling in remembrance of a recently lost comrade, the field has a sacred meaning. For many Vietnam veterans, this is the first time they have experienced any positive recognition for their answer to a call to arms. It is an incredible feeling to see a young woman visit a flag flying in the name of her fiancée, killed a week before his tour was over. Another touching moment is when a WWII nurse, part of the first nurses’ corp. to land on Normandy Beach after the horrific battle, visits her flag with her family. A mother, whose son lost three of his close friends in his squad right next to him, sponsored flags for all four; one in honor of the survivor (her son), and three in honor of the young men who made the ultimate sacrifice. The impact of a flag bearing the name of soldier, sailor, pilot, or Marine makes it very personal, and it brings the human closer to those who hold the ribbon bearing their name.