This year's Field of Heroes in Westerville marks the eighth season of one of the most unique Memorial Day observances.

This year's Field of Heroes in Westerville marks the eighth season of one of the most unique Memorial Day observances.

In addition to parades and other standard ceremonies, the Westerville Sunrise Rotary organizes a display of 3,000 flags to remember veterans and members of the military who are celebrated on the holiday, along with other heroes, such as police and fire personnel.

This year, the flags will be joined by 4,600 ceramic poppies made by Westerville students and community members that are meant to pay tribute to the women of the military, this year's theme.

Rotary member Dennis Blair, who helped organize the creation of the poppies, said every year volunteers clamor to help with the tasks related to Field of Heroes.

"It was just a brief comment and story about what we were doing and people showed up," he said. "It's an easy thing to get people out for."

Blair also worked to compile a series of interviews with female veterans to match the theme, and said it was particularly good motivation for his involvement this year.

"I feel like they've been kind of ignored," he said.

Julie Colley, a co-chairwoman of Field of Heroes, said the display is meant to bring the proper focus to the holiday.

"The Rotarians that came up with the idea for the Field of Heroes wanted to bring back the essence of Memorial Day to the weekend," she said. "We get caught up in graduations, picnics and celebrations, which are great, but we wanted to be sure we remember those who are unable to celebrate Memorial Day."

Anyone can visit the display and view it at an individual pace, and Colley said that flexibility is an important part of Field of Heroes.

"I think what this does is bring it home to each individual," she said. "There's an opportunity to come out any time over the weekend to celebrate when you have the time to celebrate, but also to celebrate in a way that's most meaningful to you."

The field officially opens with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 28, and ends with a closing ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 30.

A variety of dedications, concerts and performances of Taps at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday are planned.

For more information and a full schedule, visit

Memorial Day March

For a traditional observance of the holiday, the American Legion Young-Budd Post 171 coordinates the annual Memorial Day March.

Commander Pete Otteson leads a parade of color guards and military veterans that steps off at 9:50 a.m. Monday, May 30, from the corner of College and State streets.

Participants march to the old National Guard Armory for a wreath-laying ceremony and continue to the podium area of Otterbein Cemetery.

For more information, visit