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Newport-Mesa Students Get A Lesson In Patriotism At The Flag Lined Field Of Honor

May 20, 2017

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U.S. Marine John Lundberg is bitten by K-9 unit member Nero during a working dog demonstration during the Field of Valor dedication ceremony at Castaways Park in Newport Beach, on Thursday, May 18, 2017.


NEWPORT BEACH — Of the 1,776 American flags that make up the Field of Honor in Castaways Park, nearly 400 were dedicated to military service members as of Friday, May 19 — with more expected in the next week.

Yellow ribbons listed those being honored. Some ribbons had names put there by loved ones, such as Marine Corps Sgt. Barry O’ Neal, Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Glen Schuske, naval Chief Petty Officer Frederick Turner and Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Borella. Others simply said “In Honor of Those Who Served.”

“We have some that go back to the Revolutionary War,” said Ed Romeo, of the Newport Harbor Exchange Club, which sponsors the memorial.

Beginning this weekend through Memorial Day, the Field of Honor will display the red, white and blue along the park’s walkways, which overlook Newport Harbor.

The program — originally intended to honor the weekend of Armed Forces Day, which is Saturday, May 20, and “Americanism” — was extended through Memorial Day this year because of popular demand, said Jerry Nininger, chairman for the event.

Given the current divisive political climate, Nininger said the event celebrates what it means to be an American and the importance of building bridges.

“I do think it’s probably more important now because as everyone is going in an 180-degree opposite direction, this is the one thing that can kind of pull both sides together,” he said.

On Friday, more than 600 Newport-Mesa Unified School District students gathered to pay tribute to the five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps Air Force and Coast Guard.

The Kaiser Elementary School Choir sang patriotic songs and awards were presented to the winners of a drawing contest depicting “What America means to me.”

Lucy Toohey, 10, a Kaiser fifth-grader, placed first with her drawing of the U.S. flag, an outline of California and quotes from American icons Patrick Henry and John F. Kennedy.

Kieran Etherinaton and Joseph Hufford, both 11, teamed up to create a bald eagle carrying an American flag next to the Statue of Liberty. They placed third.

“America means freedom to me,” Hufford said.

The students were also treated to a K-9 demonstration by Camp Pendleton’s 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

Anyone wishing to honor a military member  — past or present — can pay $45 to dedicate a flag in their name. Some posted photos of the honorees and other significant items to accompany the yellow ribbon. In some cases, businesses or organizations purchased the “In Honor of those Who Serve” dedications. All the proceeds will go to local charities and groups that benefit veterans, military members and their families, Nininger said.

A newspaper clipping featuring Army Air Corps Sgt. Neal Harlan Pauley hung beside the ribbon bearing his name. The story centered on Pauley’s looming deployment overseas during World War II.

Korean War veteran Cpl. Eugene Barnes is shown in a 1952 photo wearing his dress uniform. A photo of a more recent service member, Army Pvt. Jacob Shaw, dangles from his dedicated flag.

World War II veteran Jack Linscott, 92, of Newport Beach, who has given lectures at schools about his experience during World War II, was at the ceremony.

“I have two (flags) that I dedicated… to my brother-in-law and one for myself,” Linscott said.

The field of Honor will run through May 29 at Castaways Park, 700 Dover Drive. To dedicate a flag,