Church’s Field of Flags honors 6,700 dead soldiers

May 27 closing ceremony to honor veterans living, deceased

By: Chris Jackett | Farmington Press | Published May 22, 2013

 About 6,700 miniature American flags adorn the front lawn of the Farmington Hills Church of God May 15 during the Field of Flags event from May 3-27. A 7 p.m. May 27 closing ceremony will conclude the event, with veterans present as well as refreshments from 4-6 p.m.

About 6,700 miniature American flags adorn the front lawn of the Farmington Hills Church of God May 15 during the Field of Flags event from May 3-27. A 7 p.m. May 27 closing ceremony will conclude the event, with veterans present as well as refreshments from 4-6 p.m.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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Anyone heading down Power Road, south of 11 Mile, are likely to run across a Field of Flags outside the Farmington Hills Church of God.

The FHCoG, 25717 Power, is hosting the traveling Field of Flags from May 3-27. As of press deadline, the field featured 6,699 flags after having arrived with 6,687. Each flag honors a soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, meaning 12 have died since the fixture came to Farmington Hills. About 250 flags represent Michigan soldiers and any additional flags will be added each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. until the display moves on to its next location.

A wall of names is also featured, listing all of the deceased soldiers.

“We’re not trying to make a political statement,” said Gordon Steinke, FHCoG pastor. “These are soldiers and individuals. We’re just going to honor the soldiers.”

The Field of Flags began in 2005 at the Somers Congregational Church in Somers, Conn., Steinke said.

“This is the furthest west this has ever been,” Steinke said. “All kinds of churches have hosted it. It’s always open to the public. Anyone can come to it at any time.”

Steinke said parishioner Debbie Pluff brought the idea to the church’s attention and FHCoG member Chris Weaks made it happen.

“Chris was sort of the coordinator of the event,” said Pam Keffer, FHCoG office manager. “The most fascinating part was just setting up the flags on the field. People driving by stopped and helped.” Alameda teachers and bus drivers also stopped by to help.

Before the Field of Flags comes down, the FHCoG will host a closing ceremony 7 p.m. May 27.

“We’ll have some community members, some families of the soldiers and also VFW groups present,” Steinke said.

“We’re going to have refreshments from 4-6 p.m. and then the ceremony at 7 p.m.,” Keffer added. “I guess, because I’m a mother, it means so much to me.”

For more information, visit www.fhchurchofgod.org or call (248) 477-9144.

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