Field of flags will memorialize city’s war dead

Sunday Times Newspapers


LINCOLN PARK — Sponsorships and donations still are needed to support a colorful remembrance being planned for the city’s fallen war veterans.


An effort by Exchange Club of Lincoln Park members will place 111 3-foot-by 5-foot flags around the city’s war memorial monument in Memorial Park.


Thomas Karnes, past president of the local club and immediate past president of the national group’s Michigan District, said members had seen the “healing fields” created by the Utah-based Colonial Flag Foundation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and got the idea to bring a field to Lincoln Park after learning of plans by local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion members to create a memorial to 24-year-old Sgt. Craig Stuart Frank, a military police officer in the Michigan Army National Guard who was killed in an ambush while guarding a convoy in Iraq in 2004.


“I saw these fields and thought with Memorial Day coming up that we could do a little more to honor those from our city who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Karnes, who also is the city’s police chief.


The field will be dedicated with a ceremony at 10 a.m. May 17 at the park’s band shell near Fort Street and Merrill, at which the names of the deceased will be read. Family members will be invited to show pictures and share stories as well, Karnes said, and each flag will be accompanied by a card with information including a name, date of death and service branch.


Organizers are seeking as many family members as possible to participate in the ceremony and to help place the flags, but for those families not in attendance, members of the Police Department Honor Guard, VFW Post 552 or Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus will do the honors.


At 1 p.m., local VFW members will dedicate the memorial to Frank. A coffee and cake social in the band shell will follow at 2 p.m.


At 11 a.m. May 24, the flags will be taken down after a closing ceremony. In the meantime, Karnes said, residents can visit the field and become more familiar with the stories of those who have died.


“I want to make sure that these are just more than names on a plaque,” he said.


Karnes said any donations or sponsorships will help pay for licensing fees, shipping and the cost of the flags, which will be offered for sale after the closing to first to family members and then other interested parties, and that anything beyond that will go toward maintaining the memorials.


Information about family members who may want to be present for the ceremony, names that should be included on the memorials but are not or names that are listed incorrectly can be called in to Karnes (313) 381-2259.


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