MURRIETA – The 11th annual Murrieta Field of Honor set amongst an awe-inspiring sight – 2,019 full-sized American flags – will rise in Murrieta’s Town Square Park Nov. 9, and will fly until Nov. 17.
Each year, the Field recognizes heroes – those who served or are serving in the United States military, law enforcement, fire and other first responder posts, plus personal heroes. In addition to the 2,019 flags available for dedication to personal heroes, the Field features sections for Medal of Honor recipients, local heroes who have given their lives for this country since 2003, historical flags, a flag dedicated to those who perished on 9/11, state flags and a patriotic chalk walk.
This year’s Field of Honor will honor first responders, including the Murrieta fire and rescue and police departments in the opening ceremonies, at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. In addition, a Military Family Resource Expo will be available that day.
New for 2019, the Patriots Ball, which concludes the weeklong commemoration, will be held at the Pechanga Resort Casino, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m., featuring dinner, music and dancing plus attractive live and silent auctions. The public is invited to this special event and additional information and tickets are available at www.MurrietaRotaryClub.org/Patriots-Ball-2019.
The Field of Honor is presented as a community service by the Rotary Club of Murrieta in partnership with the city of Murrieta and is held in Town Square Park, located just two blocks off Interstate 15 and stretching from City Hall at Jefferson Avenue and Kalmia Street, to the Murrieta Public Library. Most Town Square Park events and the display are free and open to all.
As the flags are being placed in perfect rows in the park early Saturday, Nov. 9, dozens of chalk artists will be creating patriotic works of art on the sidewalks surrounding the park.
A salute to the Marines on the 244th birthday will be held Sunday, Nov. 10. A full week of activities will follow: Murrieta’s popular Veterans Day parade Monday, Nov. 11, a candlelight concert with Murrieta middle school students Wednesday night, a Boy Scouts Final Salute ceremony Friday.
“Murrieta Rotary is so honored to present this spectacular event as a gift to our Southwest Riverside community,” Jacqui Dobens, 2019-2020 president of the Rotary Club, said. “And we are especially thankful for our Field of Honor/Patriots Ball sponsors who not only make this event possible but also make it possible for Rotary to fund many significant projects throughout the year. Flag sponsors contribute to this as well.”
The Field of Honor’s organizing committee is led by LouEllen Ficke and immediate past president Jann Gentry while the Patriots Ball committee is led by president nominee Jeffrey C. Nickerson. The committees meet for months in advance of the event to work out every detail, according to Dobens.
“Each sponsored flag is tagged with the name of the honoree and rank, service or other designation. At the end of the week, flags may be picked up by those who purchase them. Those who have flags from previous years that are in good condition can have them reposted for $10,” Dobens said.
Each American flag is 3 feet by 5 feet on an 8-foot pole and can be purchased for $35. They can be purchased on the Field of Honor website, https://www.murrietarotaryclub.org/product/flag-sponsorship, or by going to the Field of Honor during the week it is on display. Flag purchasers can pick up their flags Saturday, Nov. 16, and from 9 a.m. until noon Sunday, Nov. 17.
Proceeds from the 2019 Field of Honor will benefit the “Murrieta Through Time” history walk, the city’s Veterans’ Memorial, both at Town Square Park and community projects like the Club’s partnership with the Murrieta Fire and Rescue Department to bring life-saving PulsePoint to the city, teacher grants, scholarships, speech and music contests and more, all funded by the Rotary Club of Murrieta Foundation. Nonprofit groups affiliated with the Field of Honor who sell flags will receive $10 for each flag sold.
Furthering the Field of Honor’s educational benefits, all Murrieta Valley Unified School District fifth grade classes plus some classes from Lake Elsinore and Temecula schools will visit the Field during the week, hear explanations about the displays and complete class assignments.
Murrieta was founded July 1, 1991, and is noted for its quality of life for more than 115,000 residents and its business community. Juan Murrieta, a native of Spain, first settled in the area with a flock of 100,000 sheep in 1873. The Southern California Railroad’s coming to the area in 1882 helped to open the community to new residents, population swelling to 800. In 1935, the trains stopped running. The town stayed small for the next 50 years, until the I-15 freeway arrived in the mid-1980s and cityhood for its then-24,000 residents.
The Rotary Club of Murrieta was chartered April 28, 1992. The club is involved in many international and community projects, in cooperation with Rotary International, which has as its theme “Service Above Self.” Club meetings are held Mondays, excepting holidays, at noon at Richie’s Diner, 40651 Murrieta Hot Springs Road, in Murrieta. For information regarding the club or membership, visit www.murrietarotary.org.