Hundreds of flags at LaGrange park raising money for veterans, first responders

There is a stunning sight stopping traffic in southwest suburban LaGrange.

Hundreds of American flags were being placed to honor our veterans, as well as first responders and medical personnel who got us through the pandemic.

It is called the Field of Honor. Five-hundred American flags in symmetrical rows now fill Denning Park in LaGrange.

"Anytime I go to Washington D.C., I go to the Wall. This is almost as good as that," said Vietnam War veteran Bruce Harben.


On Monday, a patriotic opening ceremony honored military veterans, first responders and volunteers.

"When I look at this field, I see things like commitment, integrity, service, excellence, perseverance and honor," said retired Air Force Lt. General John B. Cooper.

The display is sponsored by Operation Support Our Troops-America, which is selling each of the 500 flags for $40 apiece to raise money for veterans programs.

But this year, they are also saluting the medical workers and first responders who got us through the pandemic.

"They’ve done so much, sacrificed so much, it’s like being in the military," said Scott Maxson, the head of Operation Support Our Troops-America. "They didn’t know what they were going to have to do on the front lines. They didn’t know what they’d have to do to stay safe."

About half the flags have already been purchased, and many of them have been dedicated in the name of a local veteran.

"Well being a combat veteran, it’s always good to see our flags. We love to see our flags," said Johnny Baylark of Downers Grove.

Baylark is a former Marine who lost his legs when he stepped on a landmine in Vietnam.

"I think it’s an honor," Baylark said. "I think it’s something that’s really needed to make the country more aware of the veterans and what we go through. And the feelings that we have afterwards."

You can purchase one of the flags either online or at the park. The display will be open for visitors until June 14th.