MAY 31, 2005 -- More than 1,700 names appear on more than 1,000 flags on a healing field in Wilmington. The healing field is nestled along the banks of the Cape Fear River in Battleship Park. The field was established to honor those who have lost their lives fighting in the war on terror.
"We're reminded that there are some 1,800 classmates and neighbors that these flags represent. At the table we're here to say that these brave service men and women did not die in vain. We are free people because of them," says Wilmington Mayor Spence Broadhurst.
National Guardsman Kenny Standeart said the emotional scars of war are still fresh. "When I found out they're having this, I had to come. It hasn't stopped hurting yet."
Standeart has searched for some of the flags of the people he served with in Iraq, including Jocelyn Carrasquillo of Wrightsville Beach. Carrasquillo was killed in Iraq more than a year ago. "He was 28 years old and had the world. I just hope everybody knows what we've done over there," says Standeart.
The healing field means something different for everyone who comes to visit.
It's a way for parents to teach their children about the sacrifices of soldiers.
"We feel this everyday. This is serious business. This is something that is indelibly etched in every leader and in every soldier throughout each of the units," says Maj. Gen. Virgil L. Packett, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg.
It's something etched in Standeart's mind as well.
He and others are comforted by the words written on every yellow ribbon.
Those words read, "In grateful memory of those who have died while defending liberty for you and me."
If you purchased one of the flags, you can pick it up Tuesday. They will be available from 1:00 to 6:00 under the gazebo at the Battleship.
If you can't stop by Tuesday, you can pick the flag up Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 at the Exchange Bingo Club at 6780 Market Street. That's behind Ruth's Kitchen.