Visitors to Westerville's Field of Heroes at 325 N. Cleveland Ave. might notice some changes in programming for the Memorial Day weekend event from Friday, May 24, through Sunday, May 26.
The events center around a visual display of more than 3,000 American flags set up across the street from the Westerville Community Center. Each flag has a dedication tag telling the story of the person to whom the flag is dedicated.
The flags have several categories and may be dedicated to active military members, veterans, mentors, members of the military who were prisoners of war or declared to be missing in action, a community volunteer or someone in public safety, according to fieldofheroes.org.
Dennis Blair, chairman of the event and a member of the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Club, said this year's theme is "Welcome Home" and is intended to focus on not only the homecoming of military members but also their families at home.
He said several things are new to this year's schedule of events, including a theatrical performance about Westerville's heroes from World War II and their experiences. The performance, "I'll Be Seeing You," is being put on by the Westerville Public Library and Westerville Historical Society at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25.
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Westerville Concert Band will perform.
"We moved the stage, so you'll be able to sit beside the flags," he said.
In addition to the two performances, there will be a tribute wall with photos and letters collected from local veterans. A 5K race will be held at 8 a.m. Sunday, May 26, starting at the Westerville Sports Complex, 325 N. Cleveland Ave., across the street from the field.
The proceeds from the race will benefit the Marine Corps Family Support Community, a local nonprofit started in 2003 by parents who had met at Parris Island at boot-camp graduation.
The organization puts together care packages for local active military members twice monthly and provides support to local military families in times of need.
Cathy Noskeowiak, president of the organization, said efforts support all branches of the military, despite the name. The organization meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Friday of every month at 250 Graceland Blvd. in Columbus.
"We are excited to be chosen as the beneficiary," she said.
Registration for the race is limited to 1,200 participants, and registration is not sold out, Noskeowiak said. Registration is $35 for nonmilitary members and $20 for active-duty service members and veterans, including on race day, she said. All others pay $40 on race day if the event is not already full, she said.
For those interested, flags may be purchased or donated for $30. Dedications are $15, according to the Field of Heroes website. Flags may be purchased through the website or on Friday and Saturday at the event until midnight, according to the field guide for the event.
Blair said flag pickup, for those who have purchased a flag, starts after the closing ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 27, and runs from 1 until 3:30 p.m.