Number of Flags More Than Doubled Since Project Launch in 2016
Citizens for Milford and the Milford Corps of the Salvation Army will be installing the Draper Memorial Park Field of Flags two more times this year. This community project—created to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military personnel on five patriotic holidays each year—began small with just 78 flag sponsorships four years ago, but has now more than doubled to an expansive display of over 180 American flags.
The Field of Flags will be installed in Draper Park this Wednesday, August 28, in honor of Labor Day, and come down September 12. The flags will return to Draper Park in honor of Veterans Day, going up November 6 and down November 13.
Flag sponsors Stephanie Fino and Stephen Laczenski state, “We are so proud to visit the Draper Park Field of Flags that are displayed during patriotic holidays throughout the year. It is comforting to see our Dad next to all the veterans of all the wars who fought so bravely for our country to secure the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
And flag sponsor Flora Kasparian says, “The Field of Flags keeps Vartan Panagian in his family’s memory. It’s a beautiful sight in Milford….in a town that he loved. Thanks for such a caring project!”
Each flag is sponsored by an individual, family, group, or business for a $60 donation. Sponsors can personalize each flag by providing brief information about the person whom they are recognizing (name, branch of service, dates served, etc.), as well as a photo if desired. Citizens for Milford prints this information on cards and laminates the cards and photos so they can be attached to each flag pole. The laminated cards and photos are typically attached the day after the flags are installed in the ground.
The flags are arranged in Draper Park in alphabetical order, with last names starting with A located in the park entrance off Park Street. Flags that have been sponsored in honor of all veterans are located at the other end of the park behind the WWI monument.
Citizens for Milford and the Salvation Army organize all the work involved in managing the Field of Flags, including everything from maintaining sponsorship information to transporting and storing the flags. Both groups are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by volunteers from other Milford groups. Volunteers from Milford Federal Bank, the Milford Junior Woman’s Club, and Montgomery Lodge, as well as many flag sponsors, often assist with the installation and take-down of the flags. All residents are welcome to help.
“Volunteering for Field of Flags is a humbling and powerful experience. It is a visual reminder of the veterans who have served our country, and the pride we feel, which is reflected in the beautiful display of flags. When I am done helping, I always leave with a grateful heart!” says Cheryl Miller, a member of the Milford Junior Woman’s Club.
Citizens for Milford will be accepting new flag sponsorships next year. Although renewals have been requested before Veterans Day during previous years, Citizens for Milford decided to restructure the sponsorship period to coincide with the calendar year. Therefore, renewal notices will go out in 2020 before the first flag installation.
The majority of funds donated by flag sponsors are used to support the work of the Salvation Army here in Milford, specifically for food assistance and after-school activities for families in need. Citizens for Milford receives a small amount to pay for supplies, such as the yellow ribbons, card stock, and laminating materials. Like the flags, these materials need to be replaced periodically due to weather exposure.
Questions may be emailed to CitizensforMilford@gmail.com.
Draper Memorial Park occupies a triangle of land in the downtown Milford area, located at the intersection of Congress Street and Main Street. The park features monuments that list the names of veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Standing tall in the park is the statue of General William Franklin Draper by sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose work also includes the massive marble statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The care and management of Draper Memorial Park falls under the authority of the Milford Parks Commission and Milford Veterans Services. Citizens for Milford is grateful for both office’s enthusiastic support for this project.