1,000 Flags honor our Veterans in Field of Honor

Quincy Exchange Club lets flags fly on Field of Honor

By MATT HOPF

Herald-Whig Staff WriterDSC_0599

The sound of metal stakes being driven into the ground could be heard Friday afternoon on Locust Street in front of the Illinois Veterans Home as members of the Quincy Exchange Club prepared to plant a field of red, white and blue in honor of people who served.

As stakes were set, a 4-by-3-foot flag on a 7-foot pole was placed on one stake, then another, then another, and the field gradually filled up with flags flapping in Friday’s steady breeze.

With 25 rows and 40 flags in each, 1,000 flags now adorn the large field. They’ll fly through Tuesday’s Veterans Day program at the Vets Home.

The Exchange Club launched its Flags of Honor program as a way to place rented flags in front of businesses and homes on national holidays. The club is using the flags first for the Field of Honor at the Vets Home to honor veterans for Veteran’s Day.

An opening ceremony is planed Saturday after the conclusion of the Veterans Day parade in downtown Quincy.

Art Awerkamp, chairman of the Flags of Honor program committee, said it’s a great way to promote Americanism, one of the Exchange Club’s four programs of service.

“We’ll let the kids see them, the veterans see them, and try to promote what the flag stands for,” Awerkamp said.

He said support for the program has been overwhelming.

“It was an easy ask,” he said. “People said, ‘No problem, we’ll help you out.”

Exchange Club members will be on the field from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day the flags are displayed. There will be security on site at night, and the field will be lighted.

Renting the flags out to businesses and residents for national holidays will be a way for the Exchange Club to continue supporting the Field of Honor each year.

For $30, the flag will be placed in front of stores, offices and homes for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Flags would be placed in the front yard at dawn and picked up at dusk.

Awerkamp said the idea came from his brother, who lives in Texas, where a similar program is run.

“We’d love to see whole neighborhoods to work together to get flags in every one of their yards,” Awerkamp said.

For more information on the flag program, visit quincyexchangeclub.org. Exchange Club members on hand at the Field of Honor will also answer questions about the program.

— mhopf@whig.com/221-3391