West Michigan Healing Field flags still available for community to keep memory of victims alive

If you missed the emotional and breath-taking “Healing Field Memorial” display of some 3,200 flags during the 3-day Labor Day weekend at Cannonsburg Ski Area you can still get a glimpse of the tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Smaller in scope but no less fitting are the 100+ flags proudly on display in front of the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community on the corner of 11-Mile Rd. and Courtland Dr. NE (enroute to WWW). A limited number of unsold flags from the “Healing Field Memorial” remain available for purchase with net proceeds going to area First Responders. Contact the office of Bishop Hills at 866-2002. Photo by CLIFF HILL

Following the West Michigan Healing Field memorial, a local business is continuing the tribute to 9/11 victims by displaying flags that have not yet been sponsored. Until Friday, Sept. 23, 100 of the American flags displayed at Canonsburg for Healing Field will be on display at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 11 Mile Rd., Rockford, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Each flag is tagged with the name and biography of a victim in the attack and the community is welcome to walk through the display. Flags are still available for purchase at Bishop Hills, United Bank branches, and www.healingfield.org/west-michigan-2011.

“We had many people stopping by Cannonsburg after the display was taken down, sad to find out that they missed the memorial,” said Susan Bodenner, owner of Bishop Hills and project chair of West Michigan Healing Field. “But Healing Field is not just a five-day event. We are thrilled to have flags at Bishop Hills to continue this memorial, and we hope that we encourage the community to do the same. We hope to give every flag a home in a West Michigan business, school or home to forever continue the conversation about the tragedy and hope of September 11 through the eyes of a victim.”

“When you bring a flag to your home, the conversation becomes even more meaningful and personal,” Bodenner added. “It also gives us a platform for sharing the story with our young people that were not born when the attacks happened or were too young to remember them.”

West Michigan Healing Field has the potential to raise more than $175,000 for local first responder organizations if every flag is purchased.

Facts about West Michigan Healing Field:

• A five-day display of 3,200 flags on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; each of 2,997 flags represented the name of an individual victim and was tagged with their name. The remaining 203 flags represented the unnamed victims who have not been identified.

• The entry path brought visitors to a center isle, creating a visual break in the flags, each side representing one of the World Trade Center towers.

• The field was laid out in 93 rows.

• Each flag was six feet from the next, so if the victims were alive and standing in the place of their flag, they could hold hands.

• The crest of the hill was an approximately 1,000-foot incline, the approximate height where the planes entered the buildings.

• Most victims were between 28 and 58 years old in the prime of their working years; the youngest victim was 2 years old.

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