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Flags fly on the Field of Honor at Merced Community College

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Hundreds of flags are in place in Merced and are paying tribute to the service members and first responders who risk their lives for our nation every day. On a green stretch of land at the entrance of Merced Community College there is an oasis of bright red, peaceful white and somber blue.

Everything flag is placed at the entrance of Merced Community College with tremendous care.

"I think it is so wonderful, it looks so beautiful. It is so patriotic, it's just great to remember all these service men," Irene Caesar from Merced said.

Caesar came to honor two special flags that mean the world to her.

"I have one for my husband and one for my son," Caesar said.

Caesar's husband, Steven died a decade ago. The military widow knows the price of freedom is too often pain. She lost her son, Ronald, not long after the Vietnam War.

"He was in the Marines for four years and when he came back he just couldn't take it," Caesar said.

There are many photos of fallen soldiers at the Field of Honor. There are also images of first responders, firefighters and officers who are still working in the city. Frank Reed with the Merced Sunrise Rotary Club believes every single one of them deserves to be on the field. Merced, a city steeped in rich military history, is rallying behind him.

"An awful lot of people who were stationed at Castle Air Force Base never left Merced when they retired or when they closed the base so there's quite a lot fire force people, Navy and army personnel also," Reed said.

There are a thousand flags at Merced Community College. Organizers say they want the flags to be visible reminder of just how many people are currently serving our country.

Sgt. Major Art Granado serves in the army. He was deployed to Iraq and twice in Afghanistan, he has seen things there he will never share. The tribute to service members and first responders is the first of its kind in the Central Valley and it deeply moved Sgt. Granado

"The flag stands for everything here in our country and to see this many flying at one time; I mean it's just overwhelming it stands out," Sgt. Granado said.

The Merced Sunrise Rotary Club is working with Merced College to host the inaugural event. If you would like to visit The Field of Honor, you can do so anytime until November 11. You can also sponsor a flag in the name of a loved one.

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merced, merced county, good news, local, mariana jacob
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