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Perfectly patriotic

Field of Honor flag display honors servicemen and women

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June 26th, 2014
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Rows of red, white, and blue waving in the wind dotted the Crest campus as standing tributes to those who have served and those currently serving in the U.S. military. It was a sight to behold the last week of May. And if you missed it, you’ll want to mark your calendar for next year’s Field of Honor at Cedar Crest, the Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J.

May 20 to May 27, Cedar Crest displayed a magnificent memorial with a patriotic tribute of American flags, each one dedicated to a veteran or someone currently in service. Some were even dedicated to all vets. 

“We’re so excited to honor our veterans and those currently serving, especially since we have such a large population of veterans living here at Cedar Crest,” says Lauren Corrente, philanthropy coordinator, referencing a population of more than 250 veterans at the community. Corrente organized the event with help from a committee of residents and staff. 

Just in time for Memorial Day

With a grand opening ceremony held May 20, Cedar Crest welcomed members of its community, as well as the public, to kick off a week of patriotism and fund-raising. 

Guest speakers, military figures, the NJROTC Unit color guard from Passaic High School, the Pequannock High School band, and the Cedar Crest Singers joined in the festivities. The band played such patriotic favorites as “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Armed Forces Salute,” and “Taps.” 

New Jersey Assemblyman Scott Rumana offered remarks, along with Pequannock Mayor Melissa Florance-Lynch, and Tom Frodella, president of Emmaus for Veterans.

“What a wonderful sight when you drive in and see all these flags waving,” said Mayor Lynch. 

Flag sponsors could purchase a 3- by 5-foot standard American flag to be displayed on an 8-foot pole along Cedar Crest Drive or on the Cedar Crest campus for $40. Funds were donated to the nonprofit organization Emmaus for Veterans, which assists returning veterans and their families struggling from various post-war effects.

“We’re trying to make a difference—helping these lives, changing the direction of their lives, and making sure they can go on,” Frodella said of the veterans Emmaus aims to support.

Sponsors could also provide a biography and photograph of their veteran to be attached to the pole. 

“Every flag could be personalized, which makes it even more special,” Corrente says.

Resident Doris Sinofsky led a committee of 16 neighbors and staff members to help assemble the flags, poles, biographies, and photographs. “It’s a very fitting memory and a wonderful way to remember your loved ones who were or are in service,” Doris says.

“I’m so thankful for Lauren and the girls in resident life for seeing this vision and pulling it together,” she adds. 

For our vets, for our neighbors

Doris has been involved with various veteran-related efforts at Cedar Crest, particularly a documentary on servicemen and women, as well as the veterans association. 

“So many of the men here at Cedar Crest are veterans from World War II, Korea, or Vietnam,” she says. “This should be a very impressive tribute to them.”

Cedar Crest originally purchased 100 flags from Colonial Flag, but the idea was so popular they purchased 150 more for a total of approximately 250 for the May 20 event. Doris herself sponsored four flags for servicemen and women in her family.

Flags with submitted biographies and photographs were color-coded in a program of names listed alphabetically.

“This event is tremendously organized so the location of your flag is easy to find,” says Doris.

The May 20 event drew hundreds of people to the Pompton Plains campus, and many more trickled in throughout the week to view the glorious display of patriotism. Approximately 250 full-size American Flags, on 8-foot poles, adorned the Cedar Crest main roadway, as the flags were spaced apart 7 feet and span ned the roadway for 1,100 feet. In addition, 72 of the 8-foot-tall full-size flags carpeted the grounds of the Village Square Clubhouse.

Cedar Crest’s sister community, Charlestown, in Catonsville, Md., displayed a Field of Honor last year with 500 flags. “They had a huge social media following,” Corrente says. “I hope we can achieve that in the future.”

Events for vets

Since Cedar Crest has such a large population of veterans, the community plans various events throughout the year to honor and serve them. Each Memorial Day, residents decorate one of the community’s buses and take it into town for the Memorial Day parade. They also plan a Veteran’s Day event that takes place in November each year.

A few years ago, the in-house TV studio produced a documentary called Our Heros about the veterans who call Cedar Crest home.

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