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Colonial Flag Foundation
History of the Healing Field and Field of Honor Display Programs

Paul Swenson, the founder of the “Healing Field” and President of the Colonial Flag Foundation writes:

“I Heard a Utah educator on the radio one week before the one year anniversary of the September 11, terrorist attacks.  He was discussing what schools could do on September 11, 2002 to remember and honor the victims and heroes of freedom killed in the terrorist attacks a year ago.

I was trying to imagine how big a number 3,031 (the total killed that day) was and decided it would be appropriate to put up 3,031 US flags.  These flags were 3x5 foot and stood on 8 foot poles.  I want the sensation to be that of walking through a corn field of flags so an individual literally gets lost in the flags and feels the enormity of that number.”

Since that first Healing Field was created, there have been hundreds of fields created throughout the United States.  The Fields of Honor were developed later with their purpose being to honor those veterans, members of the military, and first responders who risk their lives daily to preserve our safety and freedoms.  The Merced Field of Honor, which began in November 2013 was the first such display of flags found in the San Joaquin Valley.  Starting with 1,000 flags, the Field has grown in size each subsequent year.  The 2022 Field of Honor expected to fly more than 2000 flags.

The 2023 Merced Field of Honor is a program of the Colonial Flag Foundation. 

To learn more about the
Colonial Flag Foundation,
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Merced Sunrise Rotary

The Merced Sunrise Rotary is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization chartered on 22 May 1985.  One of the many projects that our club engages in the service our community is the Merced Field of Honor.  The inauguration of the Merced Field of Honor took place in November 2013.  The goal of this community service project is to serve our community by honoring veterans, active duty military and first responders - police, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.  In that inaugural year we placed 1,000 U.S. American flags on the front lawn of Merced College, our co-sponsor for this event.  

The Guiding Principles of Rotary have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.

Project Funds

Curious about how the funds in excess of expenses are used?  Funds, in excess of expenses, provide resources to causes that celebrate, enhance the lives of and honor those who serve our country and our community.

Merced Field of Honor History

How did the Field of Honor get its start with the Merced Sunrise Rotary? Bob Hobbs shared the genesis and here it is in capsulated form. Bob Hobbs and his wife Betsy Donovan Hobbs were in Vietnam the week before the 2012 Rotary International Convention held in Bangkok, Thailand. They were touring with two couples. Frank Donahoe, the then current President of the Rotary Club of Murrieta, and his wife Carole, who were accompanied by Bob and Gretchen Bryant. Seems the conversation turned to what the Rotary Club of Murrieta had been doing for the past few years. Bob and Frank, who served as co-chairs of the Murrieta Field of Honor for 2012, enthusiastically shared with Bob and Betsy a binder summarizing the Murrieta outcomes. As you can imagine Bob and Betsy were most impressed, so much so that that they wanted to visit the Murrieta Field of Honor. Bob Bryant and his wife Gretchen were most gracious to host Bob and Betsy at the Murrieta Field of Honor, in November 2012, where 2,012 flags were on the field honoring those who have and those who continue to protect our freedom. You can only guess what happened next — and the rest they say is history in the making.

Contact Us


Darrell Cherf, 2023 Field of Honor Chairperson

2023 Merced Field of Honor

Field Location:

Merced Community College

3600 M Street

Merced, CA 95348



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