DI ‘Field of Honor’ to pay tribute to hometown heroes and others
Annual flag display will be in place July 1-7
In some people’s minds, honor and patriotism are one and the same. A field of U.S. flags dedicated to those deemed deserving quickly becomes a special display for nationalists. In a lot of ways, the Field of Honor on Daniel Island seems tailor-made for that mindset.
Now in its third year, the week-long event brings a few hundred American flags to the island in recognition of local heroes and others who have served, sacrificed or inspired those around them. From July 1 through July 7, the grassy median near the intersection of River Landing Drive and
Daniels Landing Drive will change from green to red, white, and blue, when the Field of Honor appears.
The Field of Honor is a national program that puts American flags on display in requested areas. Each flag is meant to fly in honor or memory of a hero, dedicated with a name attached to the flagpole.
The concept was created and is currently owned by the Colonial Flag Foundation, and organized locally by the Exchange Club of Daniel Island.
“We just think this is a good way for people to remember loved ones and people who have been important in their lives,” said Bill Power, Exchange Club member and Field of Honor event chairman. “It allows us to raise some pretty substantial money for a small club and pretty much a hundred percent of that money stays local, so it allows us to really have an impact where we can see the results.”
James Island residents Robbe and Lori Hedstrom were biking on Daniel Island last year, when they came across the 2017 display. Soon after, they purchased a flag in honor of Robbe’s father, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and silver star recipient Robert Hedstrom.
“When we saw the flags on Daniel Island that day, it was just kind of random,” said Robbe. “When you put that together with how I, in my adulthood, become more appreciative of what he did, it just seemed like the thing to do, the natural thing to do, the only thingto do.”
Robbe adds that, to him, the flag represents more than just his father’s military career.
“That flag is not any one individual. It’s in part for everyone that has served and come home, and served and paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
Dan McQueeney also dedicated a flag to his father, William Thomas McQueeney.
“My dad served in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific,” said Dan. “He inspired us all to achieve and be patriotic and participate in community service.”
Flags are often dedicated to members of the military and veterans, but it’s not limited to servicemen, added Power. In fact, the Exchange Club wants more “hometown heroes,” he said.
“It can be a schoolteacher, someone that you grew up with, that helped you out or inspired you to go on to bigger and greater things,” Power continued. “We generally get people honoring cancer survivors and cancer victims, we get firefighters and police officers, schoolteachers.”
One of the ways the Exchange Club attempts to bring attention to non-military heroes is by actively dedicating flags to other members of the community.
“Last year, and we’re going to do it again this year, we approached the schools, both the police and fire. The Exchange Club sponsored the flags for any teacher, any fireman, any policeman,” said Power. “We’ll probably have 80 or 90 names that are club-sponsored and they honor local first responders and teachers.”
Proceeds from this year’s Field of Honor will go to One80 Place, a charity that advocates for and attempts to shelter the homeless; Fisher House, a nonprofit that provides housing for military families while their loved one is in the VA hospital; and Palmetto Warrior Connection, which helps veterans transition back into civilian life.
Daniel Island’s incarnation of the Field of Honor increased from 250 flags in its first year to 500 flags in its second. This year will also see 500 flags. Anyone can purchase a flag and dedicate it to someone that has impacted their life. When the flags are removed after the event, donors may choose to donate the flag for future Fields of Honor or retrieve it. For information on the program, visit the Daniel Island Exchange Club’s Facebook page or www.healingfield.org/danielisland18.