MIDDLETOWN, NJ - Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC) will welcome Middletown residents, active military and veterans, public officials, and a television personality to its Great Lawn on Saturday November 7th, at 1pm for a dedication ceremony of the 2020 Field of Flags. Pete Hegseth of Fox News and Co-Host of Fox and Friends Weekend will be presenting this year’s keynote remarks. Hegseth is a Major in the US Army National Guard and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year’s memorial of 7,002 flags was placed on the WPC Great Lawn on October 17th by a record number of volunteers from within the congregation and throughout the community. Teams of youngsters representing scout and youth groups from around the county rallied all morning to help set the flags in place. Despite the challenges of pandemic restrictions, face masks and safe social distancing were the order of the day and respectfully observed.
The memorial will remain standing until November 14th. The Field of Flags was first established in 2012 to honor those who serve in the United States military, but especially those who have died in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each flag in the field represents a serviceman or woman who has given their life in those conflicts and is a visually striking, patriotic, and poignant reminder of the high price of war.
According to WPC’s Reverend Joseph Hein, “The Field of Flags honors the ultimate sacrifice of thousands of young men and women who were idealistic, dedicated leaders, and our fellow Americans. We mourn their loss, but just as important, in General George Patton’s words, give thanks to God that they lived.”
In addition to Major Hegseth’s keynote speech, the ceremony will include NJ State Assemblyman Dr. Gerald Scharfenberger offering greetings from the State; a welcome from Middletown Mayor Tony Perry; the introduction of invited groups including the Middletown Police Explorers; Angel Warriors a local organization founded by 2 mothers whose sons returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and committed suicide who the group to raise money to buy Service Dogs for returning Warriors; and representatives of the ROTC program at Rutgers.
The event will also feature bagpipe music; the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corp Color Guard; patriotic Songs; and the dedication and blessing of the Field of Flags performed by Rev. Joseph Hein of WPC.