Merced College flag display will honor in red, white and blue

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comJuly 8, 2013 

More than a thousand American flags will fly on the front lawn of Merced College in about four months in a cooperative patriotic display called the "Field of Honor."

Coinciding with Veterans Day, the flag project is a joint effort of the college and the Merced Sunrise Rotary Club.

Betsy Donovan Hobbs, event chairwoman, said Merced will be the first city in the San Joaquin Valley to have the large flag display, which honors veterans, active duty military members and first responders.

"This is an important acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by so many people from Merced County," Donovan Hobbs said. "We hope that everyone here and in surrounding areas takes the time to walk through the Field of Honor. The visual impact is very powerful and it creates an immediate sense of community pride."

Volunteers will set up the Field of Honor Nov. 2-3; it will figure prominently in Veterans Day observances Nov. 3-11, Donovan Hobbs said. The flags atop 8-foot poles will be aligned in perfect rows on the lawn, centered on Yosemite Avenue between G and M streets.

Flags, which are 3 feet by 5 feet, will cost $35 each and will recognize individuals. They may be taken home at the culmination of the event or stored for future events.

Frank Reed, Sunrise Rotary president, went to the Murrietta Rotary Club flag display last November in Southern California. More than 2,000 American flags were displayed there.

"It was pretty impressive," Reed said. "It was really dramatic, quite a presentation. I'm hoping some school kids will get a chance to come out here and learn some history of the flag."

Donovan Hobbs said proceeds from flag sales will go to veterans' groups and other charities that Rotarians support. She said the club has had an incredible response to its Field of Honor plans.

Opening ceremonies are planned Nov. 3 at 2 p.m., with closing ceremonies slated after the Nov. 11 Veterans Day parade. The Colonial Flag Foundation in Sandy, Utah, is promoting the Field of Honor displays.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or

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