Ohio Flags of Honor memorial in Grove City this weekend
The Ohio Flags of Honor traveling memorial will return to Grove City for the third year in a row.
The display, consisting of more than 400 U.S. flags to commemorate each Ohio service member who has died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be open to the public beginning at 3 p.m. June 21, and be available for viewing until 3 p.m. June 23, in Grove City's Henceroth Park, 2075 Mallow Lane.
The park will be open for 24-hour viewing during those dates.
Boy Scouts of Troop 136 will be camping in the park to attend the flags during the weekend and provide assistance if need.
The scouts will also be accepting worn flags for a flag retirement ceremony to be held in the afternoon of June 23.
Ohio Flags of Honor first came to Grove City in 2011 to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., said Kim Conrad, Grove City Parks and Recreation director.
"It was such a moving event, we decided to make it an annual event," she said. "This year, we decided to change it up a bit."
This year, the program will feature a flag presentation by the combined honor guard of the Grove City Division of Police and Jackson Township Fire Department and a concert from 6 to 8 p.m. June 22. The band RMT will be performing Americana music.
Families are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the concert.
In addition to the Boy Scouts, the memorial will receive support from Sunbelt Rentals, which is donating lights for the display, and the Grove City Noon Lions Club, which will be selling food and drinks Saturday evening.
Conrad said volunteers are needed to help set up and clean up the flags. Set-up begins at 9 a.m. June 21, and tear down is at 3 p.m. June 23.
"We invite the public to come out," Conrad said. "Anyone who wants to come out for any amount of time is more than welcome to help out."
June 22, the Henceroth Park parking lot will be restricted to handicapped parking. Conrad said golf carts will be on hand to help those who need assistance getting around.
General parking will be available at Jackson Middle and Buckeye Woods Elementary schools, 2271 Holton Road and 2525 Holton Road, respectively.
Ohio Flags of Honor originated from Gino and Lisa Zimmer, parents of U.S. Army Spc. Nicholaus E. Zimmer of Hilliard, who was killed in action in May 2004 in Iraq.
The Zimmers formed the Operation Iraqi Freedom Chopper Fund with the intent to tour with a special motorcycle to raise awareness for fallen veterans, and in 2005, the group evolved into Ohio Flags of Honor after an American Legion unit sponsored an avenue of flags at Rickenbacker International Airport to welcome home the U.S. Marine Corps Lima Company 3rd Battalion/25th Regiment, after the company had suffered heavy casualties in Iraq.
The memorial, according to the organization's website, is intended to "help facilitate fellowship for families, friends" and communities who want to pay tribute to Ohio's fallen soldiers ... (and) raise public awareness and support for Ohio's returning veterans."
Additional information about the event is available by calling 614-277-3050 or by visiting grovecityohio.gov.
For more information about Ohio Flags of Honor, visit ohioflagsofhonor.org.