CATHEDRAL CITY – One of the most poignant Veterans Day tributes in the Coachella Valley is a display of more than 6,900 flags, which make up the Healing Field in Patriot Park.
“Healing Field” is a tribute to the men and women of uniform who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country since September 2001. The event is organized by the Cathedral City Rotary and sponsored by the City of Cathedral City.
On Saturday, volunteers from Cathedral City High School, the American Legion, Desert Riders Association, Cathedral City Rotary and carefully staked flags, one-by-one, in the ground and the Healing Field rose in a stunning expanse of red, white and blue. A gentle breeze whispered among the Stars and Stripes. Volunteers went about the task with a respectful degree of reverence and solemnity.
As she has for the past 11 years, Ami Simmons, a member of the Desert Riders Association, was there to plant the flags.
“It’s really emotional,” Simmons said. “Every flag represents one soldier killed since 2001. It is so beautiful and so very important.”
The Desert Riders Association Inc. (DRA) is a nonprofit public charity. The DRA and its members have raised and donated more than $114,000 to various charities, service organizations and individuals since its founding in 1999.
Members of the DRA will ride in the Veterans Day Parade today, Sunday, Nov. 11, in downtown Palm Springs. This year’s theme is “Honoring All Who Serve. It begins at 3:30 p.m. and runs along Palm Canyon Drive.
“Healing Field” began Nov. 10 with Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, followed by the reading of names and the static display of the American flags representing the fallen heroes.
The Healing Field is a place to pay respect to those who fought for the freedoms Americans enjoy and a place where family and friends can go and heal their hearts and their minds.
Mia Byers, a ninth grader at Cathedral City High School, was among the volunteers.
“I have family members who were veterans and died,” Byers said. “It means a lot to me to honor those who died and served.”
This year, Cathedral City Rotary is asking for help. It needs to buy or replace about 1,000 flags for the display. You are encouraged to adopt a fallen soldier flag display so that each soldier has his/her own flag and name tag attached.
To adopt a fallen soldier flag display, go to Ace Hardware in Cathedral City at the corner of 30th Avenue and Date Palm Drive and adopt a fallen soldier flag display for $25 for the Healing Field. Each kit includes the flag, rebar, pole, name tag, and funds to support the project. All flags are made in America. Donations are tax deductible.
Patriot Park is located next to Big League Dreams Sports Park at the corner of Date Palm Drive and Dinah Shore Drive.
Closing Ceremonies are set for Saturday, Nov. 17 at noon.
- Healing Field: Cindy Uken