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Drive into San Gabriel Park, tucked in a field just next to the Georgetown Recreation Center and you’ll find a breathtaking display of patriotism.
Posted on the field are over 1,700 full-size, American flags – each dedicated to a member of the military, a first responder or this year, a COVID-19 hero.
“There are over 38,000 veterans in Williamson County alone,” Jeanne Cox, Field of Honor® Chair, told Hello Georgetown. “We want to recognize these heroes, as well as our many first responders, and give families an opportunity to proudly pay tribute to their heroes in a meaningful way during the week of the event.”
The flags don’t just represent the heroes they are dedicated to either. Each flag is purchased by a loved one, a friend, a family member or a fellow military veteran, or first responder. In some cases, the flags are purchased under the Adopt-a-Hero program where people without family members or friends in the military or first responders, can still purchase a flag and honor a hero. Then, the money generated from each flag sale goes to help local organizations.
“The Field of Honor® flag proceeds are donated as grants to organizations that support veterans, first responders, and this year, COVID heroes,” Cox said. “R.O.C.K – Ride on Center for Kids, Samaritan Center, and Veteran Outdoors are this year’s beneficiaries. Additionally, 17 organizations serve as Affiliates of the Field of Honor®. By promoting flag sales, they will receive a portion of the flag proceeds for their fundraising efforts.”
Fundraising has been difficult for countless organizations this year especially, and Cox said she hopes the Field of Honor® can help some of those organizations who have felt the impact of the pandemic on their own fundraising efforts and events.
In addition to serving as a fundraising event and providing a place where family, friends and community members can honor those who have served, the Georgetown Field of Honor® also educates future generations. In previous years, bus loads of students from Georgetown Independent School District have filled the main event tent and heard from panels of military service members and first responders, and from history experts from the Williamson Museum on topics like the history of the US and Texas flags. This year, those educational events are going virtual.
“Local students will have an opportunity to participate in a virtual environment to “visit” the Field of Honor® and learn about our U.S. and Texas flag history and the Revolution, courtesy of Williamson Museum,””Students will also interact virtually with military members, some of whom will be joining in from deployment duty stations around the world. On another day, they will interact with first responders, and then with COVID Essential Workers. Every student will receive a pocket Constitution of the United States of America, courtesy of State Representative, Terry Wilson.”
There are plenty of other COVID-19 safe events going on during the week of the Field of Honor® as well.
“We will have a variety of meaningful and inspiring displays, an opportunity to write uplifting messages to our deployed heroes and first responders, a sneak peak at the rendering of the new K9 themed mural at Wag Heaven, and there was already free socially distanced concert featuring Wynn Williams at Cimarron Hills,” Cox said. “The information on all these elements is on the website in the Events section. Masks and social distancing will also be required when visiting the displays and flag sales and repost stations in the tent.”
Veterans, first responders and COVID-19 heroes can also take a moment to give a gift to their loved ones too in the form of a story at The Legacy Tent. In the tent, participants sit down for a free, 15-minute, socially distanced interview with Root Story Studios to talk about what the Field of Honor® means to them and to share some of their own stories.
“At Root Story Studios, we recognize service to country and community sometimes comes with difficult memories or experiences,” according to a Facebook post on the Georgetown Field of Honor® page. “We won’t ask about or press for any stories you or your loved one isn’t comfortable sharing.”
All in all, Cox said, the Georgetown Field of Honor® is providing a light and an experience everyone can enjoy, especially during such a unique year.
“We all need something positive in the midst of the many difficulties we have experienced this year,” Cox said. “The Field of Honor® is a unifying event that promotes peace, gratitude, and kindness, all of which are goals and benchmarks of Rotary. It also gives us all the opportunity to feel a sense of patriotism, and a chance to thank our heroes in a meaningful way. ”