If you drove by the intersection of Three Oaks Road and Hwy 14 in Cary on or before Memorial Day, you may have noticed a large flag display. While the flags are gone now, at least for another year, the purpose of this display lives on, thanks to the Veterans Network Committee of Northern Illinois. Field of the Fallen is a remembrance display and ceremony to recognize, honor, and most importantly, remember those service members from Illinois who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Veterans Network Committee honors fallen service members each year with the Field of the Fallen display. As part of the honoring, they install a U.S. flag with a card that identifies the military member from each branch of the service from Illinois who has been killed in action since the first gulf war.
Along the end, there are also boards detailing each fallen member, broken out by year, and various branch, remembrance, and organization flags. Every hour on the hour, each member’s name is read aloud and a bell is rung.
Typically, the display is manned 24 hours a day starting with an opening ceremony at 6 pm on Friday and a closing ceremony at 5 pm on Memorial Day.
Veterans Network Committee
The VNC (Veterans Network Committee) does more than just put on the Field of the Fallen each year. From their mission statement, “The Organization is to serve the Northern Illinois area by providing beneficial services to disabled, poor or distressed Veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their dependents and the widows and orphans of deceased Veterans; Conducting programs for charitable purposes; and educating the public about Veterans issues and the memory of the Armed Forces in a charitable manner.”
One of the VNC’s other main programs is the Honor Flight. This special program flies veterans to Washington D. C. every year for a three-day trip to visit the memorials and monuments that honor and remember veterans. They also work with the Crystal Lake Home Depot to install flagpoles at veteran’s homes at no charge, as well as a few other programs.
If you are a veteran and are interested in any of the programs they offer, you can find more details and contact information on the website. Likewise, much of what the VNC does is supported through donations, which you can learn more about on the website as well as access direct links to make donations online.
If you didn’t make it out to the Field of the Fallen this year, be sure to put a note on your calendar for next year.