Volunteers begin distributing and setting up the 2012 Field of 1,000 Flags Saturday for Sept. 11 — Patriot Day — at the Albany Mall.
ALBANY, Ga. -- A volunteer contingent drawn from high schools, veterans' organizations and other groups erected 1,000 American flags Saturday to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The flags in the field behind the Albany Mall will stay for the Patriot Day ceremonies Tuesday at 7 p.m. through Saturday's musical ending to the week, said spokesman Marvin W. Mixon. The Field of Flags has been a tradition on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon since 2002.
"On Tuesday, we'll have our memorial program with speaker Marine Col. Donald Davis, the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany commander," Mixon said. "The day started being sponsored by the Exchange Club, but American Legion Post 30 sponsors it now."
According to Mixon, on Patriot Day the names of 13 Georgians killed in Afghanistan in the past year will be read. In all, 231 have died in service to the country since 9/11.
Jonathan Keely and Halee Fetrow were two Monroe High School students who turned out to help drill holes, set rebar and plant flagpoles in honor of the service men and women.
"We are here to support our troops and let them know how much we need them," Fetrow said. "It is the patriotic thing to do for Patriot Day."
Charlie Jones and Johnny White, both retired veterans, were trimming plastic waste off the flagpoles as they steadily walked row after row of American flags.
"We are here because it is the right thing to do," said Jones. "We've done this every year to honor our vets."
White added, "To let them know we care and to show we are 100 percent behind them."
The flags are available for adoption. Supporters are encouraged to buy a flag in honor of their patriotism, veterans, active military personnel or first responders.
Plans call for the flags to be given to anyone who donates $25 or more after Saturday's musical finale to the week. The tribute will feature Jodi Mann and the LeVee band. Volunteers will be needed to remove the rebar and flagpoles Sunday starting at 2 p.m., Mixon said.