For the fourth year, more than 2,500 American flags will fill the Westerville Sports Complex to honor military and personal heroes on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28.

For the fourth year, more than 2,500 American flags will fill the Westerville Sports Complex to honor military and personal heroes on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28.

However, this year's Field of Heroes, sponsored by the Westerville Sunrise Rotary, has added events and activities aimed not only at drawing people to the field, but engaging them longer.

"What we tried to do with Field of Heroes is make this more of a destination and get people in for more than just an hour or two period," said Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer, who helped coordinate some of the event.

"What we want is to make Westerville the spot for people to come on Memorial Day and spend the weekend here commemorating not only those who have given their lives, but all heroes."

As in past years, people can purchase 3-by-5-foot flags for $30 in honor of any hero, such as a military veteran, first-responder or teacher.

The flags on eight-foot poles will be on display from 1 p.m. May 25 through 12:30 p.m. May 28 at the sports complex, 325 N. Cleveland Ave.

"The main focus is still on honoring heroes with the flag," said Barb Gizzo, Sunrise Rotary spokeswoman.

"The Field of Heroes will always be about honoring our heroes, no matter who they are."

In addition, this year's Field of Heroes will recognize World War II veterans with a replica of the World War II veterans memorial in Washington, D.C.

The replica is being constructed by Columbus Honor Flight, which flies World War II veterans to Washington to see the memorial.

There also will be a station at which people can write thank-you notes to those veterans.

The notes will be given to veterans who participate in Honor Flight.

Westerville Sunrise Rotary also has added a free concert this year.

There will be a performance by the 122nd Army Band based at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base at 6:30 p.m. May 26 at the sports complex.

"What we're trying to encourage everyone to do is grab a picnic basket and a blanket and sit on the lawn and enjoy the show," said Dave Wartel, event chairman.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 27, bus tours of historic Westerville sites will depart from the sports complex every 20 minutes.

The tours were organized and will be guided by members of the Westerville Division of Police's Explorer program.

The explorers worked with the Westerville Public Library's local history section to create stops for the tour, Morbitzer said.

The tours will take participants across the bridge of flags on West Main Street. They will visit Otterbein Cemetery, where the guides will talk about veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War who are interred there.

They also will visit the Armory memorial on South State Street and First Responders Park on West Main Street.

Because the tours will depart every 20 minutes, participants will have the option of stopping to eat Uptown or taking more time at the individual stops and catching a different tour bus back to the Field of Heroes, Morbitzer said.

At 7:30 p.m. May 26, Boy Scouts will conduct a flag retirement ceremony, to which people are invited to bring their old flags, Wartel said.

Westerville Sunrise Rotary also will hold a photo contest for pictures taken of the Field of Heroes.

Those whose pictures are selected to receive awards will be recognized at Veterans Day ceremonies.

For more information about the Field of Heroes, visit the website