There are roughly 228 American flags standing in front of the high schools in the East Meadow School District, with 99 at W.T. Clarke High School and 129 at East Meadow High School.
East Meadow Kiwanis collaborated on the project, called the Field of Honor, with the Athletes Helping Athletes service clubs at both high schools. Residents purchased flags and, on each, a ribbon was tied in honor or memory of someone who served in the U.S. military.
Members of Kiwanis, Athletes Helping Athletes and the East Meadow community visited the Field of Honor to pay their respects on Nov. 2. This included Norma Gonsalves, who bought a flag for Sal Pellegrino, 90, who was also in attendance. Pellegrino fought in the Korean War and is one of the oldest veterans living in East Meadow.
Each American flag has its own story of the veteran to whom it is dedicated. Anyone could visit the displays at both schools through Dec. 7.
Matt Germaine brought the idea to W.T. Clarke High School, where he teaches physical education teacher and coaches Varsity boy’s soccer. Germaine, who is from a military family, was inspired by seeing the Field of Honor in his town, Massapequa, and felt it would be a perfect project for the East Meadow community.
“The parent feedback has been great,” he said. “Everyone says that they love pulling up and seeing the flags.”
Kiwanis President Alan Beinhacker addressed the crowd and thanked Brian O’Flaherty, Richie Krug, Dave Diamond and Joseph Parisi, who spearheaded the effort and laid the flags out at both high schools. “You guys did an incredible job in such a limited time,” he said.
Parisi drew attention to the calm and serenity the Field of Honor offers when you walk through it with the only noise being the flags waving in the wind.