In Arlington this year, the heroism and sacrifice of a select group of Americans will be remembered in a special display.
As part of Patriot Day remembrance, the city will extend its recognition with a Field of Honor that will memorialize victims and the first responder heroes in the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Patriot Day is held on that day each year across the United States.
At least 900 American flags will be planted in Veterans Park. In addition, 100 flags will be planted in Dr. Robert Cluck Park near Texas Live! where a 9/11 Patriot Day commemoration ceremony will be held at noon.
A closing ceremony is Saturday, Sept. 14.
“There are several parts to this patriotic week, all coming together at just the right time to demonstrate why Arlington is the best place for the National Medal of Honor Museum,” said Clete McAlister, President of the Arlington Veterans Park Foundation. “We especially want to honor fire, police, emergency medical personnel and active and retired military.”
Arlington and Denver are the two finalists for the new National Medal of Honor Museum. A site is expected to be announced in September.
Actually, even more flags could be planted with the community’s help. Flags can be purchased for $40. Anyone who purchases a flag can have it installed in someone’s honor. The honoree’s information will be included on every flag.
The opening ceremony for the week will begin at 9 a.m. at Veterans Park. It will be followed immediately by a ribbon-cutting for the newly planned Korean War Memorial in Veterans Park.
At Dr. Robert Cluck Park, Sheriff Bill Waybourn will emcee a patriotic program in which Mayor Jeff Williams will speak, followed by keynote speaker and Pentagon 9/11 attack survivor Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell.
“We expect one or more Medal of Honor recipients to be in attendance,” McAlister said.
“Arlington has a long history of stepping up and showing strong support for our veterans, first responders and law enforcement. It’s in our DNA,” Williams said. “The Field of Honor is another shining example of that and will be an outstanding display of patriotism by the Arlington community.”
Afterward, Texas Live! will host a program of music. That evening, the Texas Rangers baseball team will give discount tickets for active military, veterans, and first responders.
McAlister said the Arlington Veterans Park Foundation was looking for a way to raise funds to complete the memorial area of Veterans Park. They had heard about the Field of Honor in Georgetown and the Veterans Day Field of Honor in Keller.
“We did not want to conflict with the Veterans Day Event in Keller, so after considering Memorial Day, we decided to hold this event on Patriot Day,” he said. “There are no other patriotic events happening in early September that we know of. We also did not want to conflict with any of the many Veterans Day events in Arlington.”
McAlister noted that it should be remembered that victims of the 9/11 attacks include civilians as well as the first responders and military who “always rush toward the dangers in our world.”
“The American flag is the symbol of our nation’s unity in times of peril, and it is the symbol that we use to honor the sacrifice of our heroes,” McAlister said.
Volunteers are needed to help install the flags in the park Sept. 6.
Money raised from flag sales and sponsorships benefits the nonprofit Arlington Veterans Park Foundation. Event sponsors include the Greater Arlington Lions Club, the Jim Ross Law Firm and the Rotary Club of Arlington.
At the end of the week, the flags will be taken down and given to the purchaser or honoree. They will be mailed for an additional fee.
All money raised from the Patriot week events will go to the Arlington Veterans Park Foundation to complete the memorial area there. More information is available at arlingtonFOH.org.