Thousands of American flags fly in Field of Honor in Punta Gorda

Published: May 26, 2022 4:47 PM EDT
Updated: May 26, 2022 5:58 PM EDT

One thousand flags are displayed in a Field of Honor at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda. They all look the same, but they all tell a different story, just like the special people they represent.

What makes a hero a hero? In the Field of Honor in Punta Gorda, it’s someone you will never forget.

“Anybody you might think is a hero. Your mom, your uncle, anybody just to honor them today of all times,” said a volunteer planting flags.

American Flags will be planted one pole at a time until 1,000 heroes are honored. Fifty flags flying on the front row are at half staff.

“Uvalde community and the kids and teachers at Robb Elementary. We knew we couldn’t do them all at half staff, but we knew we needed to at least recognize the tragedy,” said another volunteer helping fill the field with American flags.

One name is tied to each flag. That name represents someone’s hero.

“When you drive across the bridge, and you see all these flags, you just gotta stop in and take a look at them and walk amongst them, and every night at 6 o’clock, we have a bugler play Taps,” said Peter Wilkens, co-chair of the Healing Field of Honor.

Peter Wilkins was born in Canada and realized his American dream 25 years ago when he moved his family to the United States.

“Whole family got dual American citizenship, so we are dual citizens, but the U.S. flag means a lot to all of us, and it’s one way to honor my adopted country,” said Wilkins.

From soldiers to nurses, heroes are never the same, but the principles that define their lives are always recognized in red, white and blue.

“It’s a way to honor the country and everybody who has protected freedom for the U.S. and around the world,” said Wilkens.

The flags are for remembering and reflecting on our heroes.

The opening ceremony for the Field of Honor is at 10 a.m. on Friday. Taps will be played every evening at 6 p.m. while the flags are displayed.

The Field of Honor will remain at Laishley Park through Memorial Day.

You can sponsor a flag or donate at Laishley Park. All proceeds will go to the Punta Gorda Rotary Charity and Education Foundation.