8th Annual Healing Field honors thousands of fallen veterans

8th Annual Healing Field honors thousands of fallen veterans

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - More than 3600 American flags gallantly stand at Patriot Park in Cathedral City, honoring the sacrifices made by military service members who didn't return home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

"These are our brothers and our sisters that are here," said Mike Templeton, a U.S. Marine veteran.

"We want to make sure that when they come home, and if they came home in a pine box, that they're not going to be forgotten," said Betsy Hayes-Gonzalez, the coordinator for the Healing Field.

Each flag has at least one name tag attached to it; a total of 6,552 men and women who have fallen, fighting for our country's freedom. 

"We want people to know the names of these people, we want them to know these were young members of our communities," Hayes-Gonzalez said.

Templeton is a career Marine who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 29 years.  This was his fourth time attending the Healing Field ceremony.

"Each flag that goes up has a face attached to it, and I served with plenty of good Marines, I've lost some Marines," Templeton said.

Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice helps give Templeton closure for the losses he experienced during his many deployments. 

"The great thing would be the day those flags aren't mounting up to remember those folks that are making sacrifices for us  so that we can live the life we live," Templeton said.

And it may seem hard to believe but event organizers say they've had issues with flags being stolen, but they have a way to prevent that from happening this year.

"We do have volunteers that will be coming back in the evenings and monitoring the fields. People realize the importance of this and why they need to be revered and taken care of," Hayez-Gonzalez said.

The Healing Field will be on display until next Sunday.

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