Shared from the 4/11/2022 Albany Times Union eEdition


A call for flags to pay tribute to veterans

Provided by Field of Honor Committee

Plans are in place to cover the Hoosic Valley Central School football field in Schaghticoke with flags on Memorial Day weekend. Proceeds will aid the Capital Region Patriot Honor Flight.

A patriotic group has put out a call for individuals and business sponsors to purchase hundreds of American flags to fill a Field of Honor before Memorial Day weekend for the benefit of Patriot Honor Flight.

Proceeds will aid the Capital Region Patriot Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that flies World War II through Vietnam War veterans and their guardians on a one-day free excursion from Albany International Airport to Washington, D.C. The veterans visit war memorials, historic sites and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.

The Field of Honor Committee already has orders for more than 200 flags, according to Marilou Pudiak-Town, Schaghticoke project co-chairwoman.

Anyone or business can be a sponsor by purchasing a flag or flags at $40 each and honor a veteran or someone on active duty. A tag is placed on each flag that honors and includes a tribute to that person.

Hundreds of 3-by-5-foot American flags on 7½-foot poles will be placed for public viewing on the football field at Hoosic Valley Central School in Schaghticoke during Memorial Day weekend, May 27 to 30.

A dedication ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, May 27. A closing ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30. The Field of Honor will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Between noon and 5 p.m. on May 30, flag purchasers can pick up and take their flags home.

The history of the Field of Honor

“Historically, it originated nearly 20 years ago when it was founded by Paul Swenson of Sandy City, Utah, to memorialize every life lost on September 11, 2001,” said Nancy O’Donnell of Schaghticoke, Field of Honor program chairwoman. “Annually thereafter, thousands of American flags are planted in the promenade at Sandy City, thanks to Swenson and hundreds of volunteers and community-wide sponsors to honor those lost.”

Since the first event, Swenson’s idea has grown into a national movement, O’Donnell said.

“Now CEO of Colonial Flag Foundation, Swenson provides an opportunity for community organizations to host their own Field of Honor,” O’Donnell said. “Today, the rows upon rows of waving American flags have taken on further meaning to include all veterans and currently serving military personnel.”

Locally, Pudiak-Town is building on Swenson’s vision.

“We are trying to do an event that will honor our veterans in a way that has not been done in the Capital District,” Pudiak-Town told WAMC’s radio host Jim Levulis during an on-air interview. “And that is, we want to make it personal.”

The Stars and Stripes also is a reminder of Americans who meet the challenges of history and overcome hardships while becoming stronger, Pudiak-Town said.

“The United States flag also represents our solidarity in creating a brighter tomorrow and uniting us all.”

To order and purchase a flag, visit and download an order form or mail a make check payable to Field of Honor, put Schaghticoke, N.Y., in memo line, and send to Field of Honor, P.O. Box 82, Schaghticoke, NY 12154.

Donations are also encouraged. Donations for company sponsorship packages are $5,000 for a gold package, $2,500 for silver, and $1,000 for bronze.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Pudiak-Town at 518-423-5281 or

In-kind services are also needed for preparation and operating the event that will require portable lighting, a sound system, stage, tents and food for volunteers.

The Field of Honor is a nonprofit Colonial Flag Foundation event. The foundation helps groups raise funds for worthy causes.

Last year, the foundation posted more than 80,000 flags.

Korean War tributes

A tribute to Army Sgt. Howard R. Belden of Hague, Warren County, will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 19, at the Korean War Memorial on Madison Avenue between the State Museum and Swan Street in Albany.

Belden was wounded Dec. 1, 1950, in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. While being evacuated in a military convoy, the convoy was attacked and wiped out. He was then listed as missing in action and presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953. His remains were discovered in 2018 and identified Oct. 14, 2021.

Tom Mullins of the Rev. Francis Kelley Society, a military honor society; former Marine Sgt. Kenneth Wells, the Rev. Charlene Robbins, a Gold Star Mother; Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, the Junior Reserve Officer Corps cadets from Albany High School, state officials and others will participate in the ceremony.

Rafi Topalian will sing the national anthem and Mark Roenweig, a Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans, will perform Taps.

A second tribute will commemorate Belden at 6 p.m. Friday, April 22, in Veterans Memorial Park in Hague.

Belden’s remains are expected to be flown May 10 from Hawaii to Washington, D.C. Belden’s burial service will start at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 12, at Arlington National Cemetery.

News of troops and units can be sent to Duty Calls, Terry Brown, Times Union, Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212 or email

See this article in the e-Edition Here
Edit Privacy