Field of hope

By on May 29, 2014
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Photo: Sisters Emma, 4, and Kailey Kunstman, 6, wearing their red, white and blue, visited the KHS Healing Field to honor the military during the opening ceremony on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Last weekend’s Healing Field display at Kaneland High School caught the community’s attention.

According to Rudy Keller, chair of the Kaneland Healing Field Committee and interim co-athletic director of Kaneland High School, a total of about 3,000 people attended the Healing Field between May 23 and Memorial Day. The event remained open until Tuesday.

The Healing Field took place on the grassy field to the east of the high school. The idea of the field is to symbolize patriotism and honor the servicemen and servicewomen who have fought to defend America and people’s freedom, Keller said.

One thousand American flags filled the field. People could purchase flags to represent the veterans who have served America and veterans who have died.
Keller said that more than half of the flags were sold.
All flag proceeds will go to local American Legions in Maple Park, Elburn and Sugar Grove.

Everything with the Healing Field went as scheduled, with one exception: the plan was to set up an additional 2,000 American flags in the community.

“We could not put the flags on Keslinger Road,” Keller said. “I wanted to line Keslinger Road with flags, from County Line to Route 47. But that wasn’t approved by the Department of Transportation, the county. So we just changed our plans.”

Those extra flags ended up getting set up around the perimeter of the high school.

Keller explained that the work involved in putting together the event ranged from doing lots of planning and having lots of volunteers to measuring the field to have perfect rows of flags.

The events had what Keller called “a variety of different layers.”

The Healing Field events had both an opening ceremony and Memorial Day ceremony. Highlights from Monday’s event included KHS students singing patriotic songs like “National Anthem,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

Two World War II military planes did a flyover during Saturday’s opening ceremony, as the crowd in attendance cheered and applauded.
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CW4 Ty Simmons was the keynote speaker on Saturday. He spoke of honoring United States of America by doing things like attending the Healing Field, remembering veterans and taking pride in the colors of the American flag.

“We had many, many, many visitors each day,” Keller said. “And every one of them commented how special it was. The beauty of it is just breathtaking out here.”