With rows of American flags displayed nearby, military veterans and supporters were at Mission San Juan Capistrano to recognize servicemembers ahead of Memorial Day.
The Mission and local military family advocacy nonprofit Homefront America partnered again this year for Field of Honor, which recognizes those who served their country through the flag display on the Mission grounds.
A kickoff ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 23, which included remarks by San Juan Capistrano Mayor and retired Navy Capt. Howard Hart.
“To this veteran, these flags you see are not symbols of American power or jingoism or even Budweiser, but of the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—of equality under the law and of government, by the people, of the people, and for the people,” Hart said.
“When I see a fallen servicemember’s casket draped with the flag, it serves as a profound reminder of why they died and why we must never stop fighting the forces at home and abroad that seek to erode those values,” he continued.
Homefront America Founder and President Mamie Yong Maywhort also gave a speech and said the ceremony was made possible through support from the community.
“Today is all about you,” she said to the crowd. “None of this would have happened without the community—the community being you, our veterans, our first responders, our military. Thanks to (Mission Executive Director) Mechelle Lawrence Adams for allowing us the privilege to host this beautiful display that is just awe-inspiring.”
World War II and Korean War veteran Dan Oldewage, who soon turns 98 years old, was also given special recognition. Oldewage spent time as a prisoner of war during his service.
The Field of Honor ceremony also included a ringing of the Mission bells and visits by young students. The flag display is available to view through Memorial Day.