Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett

“Field of Flags” South Congregational Church-East Hartford, Connecticut

The visual impact is daunting. A “Field of Flags” with more than 6,000 American flags, one for each American casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan, is on display at South Congregational Church in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Described by organizers as “a silent, patriotic and poignant reminder of the cost of war,” the “Field of Flags” is meant  to not only represent individual casualties but also family and friends impacted by the losses, respect for those who have served and are currently serving in the military and “our hope for peace in the future.”

“It takes your breath away,” said Debra Dahms.

Debra Dahms and James St. James of East Hartford, CT looked over the names of American casualties when they paid their respects at the “Field of Flags.”

She and James St. James, both of East Hartford, stopped to pay their respects while they were out for a walk last weekend. Although she said the memorial is “absolutely beautiful,” Dahms added it saddened her to think of so many lives lost.



A sea of flags spans across the front lawn of the church leading to a name board where the name and rank of every American casualty is listed by state. On top of the board is a tally of the total losses which as of May 3, 2012 were recorded to be 6,437. A hardcover notebook to write in, is available there for visitors who want to share their thoughts.

Originally dedicated in October of 2005, at Somers Congregational Church in Somers, Connecticut, the “Field of Flags” drew such a wide and strong response that it has become a traveling tribute. The idea for the “Field of Flags” came from the Memorial Garden Committee at Somers Church, which was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Day 2012 – plans are underway to rebuild , services are currently being held at Johnson Memorial Hospital in nearby Stafford Springs.

Since that first dedication of the “Field of Flags,” in addition to other towns in Connecticut, it has been displayed at churches in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida and New Jersey. It will remain at the South Congregational Church in East Hartford through Memorial Day – May 28, then moves on to the United Methodist Church in Bristol, CT June 1, the First Congregational Church in North Adams, Massachusetts June 29, Warren Congregational Church, Warren, CT July 27, Vernon Congregational Church Vernon, CT August 24, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Southbury, CT September 22 and the First Congregational Church of Branford, Branford, CT October 26.

Churches interested in having the “Field of Flags” can call the office for Somers Congregational Church at (860)763-4021. Memorial Garden Committee members will bring the flags and name board and help set up the “Field of Flags.”