Naperville's Rotary Hill has once again been transformed into a living memorial for our nation's troops.
More than 100 volunteers spent three hours Wednesday planting 2,012 American flags and turning Rotary Hill into Naperville's "Healing Field of Honor" for the first time since 2009.
The exhibit, which opens today and will be will be up through Tuesday, is a way for community members to express patriotism and gratitude for troops. It also raises money to support traumatic brain injury research.
Healing Field Chairman David Wentz was involved in the display in 2009 but said the reassembled field still takes his breath away.
"When you get to the top of the hill and look down the view is absolutely stunning," he said. "There are no words to describe it. The view is like standing at Arlington National Cemetery."
The Millennium Carillon will also be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, allowing people to climb to the observation deck for an aerial view of the field.
"Personally, I think the view from the top of Rotary Hill is the coolest," Wentz said. "But if you can get up to the top of the Carillon, that view is pretty fascinating too."
As of Wednesday, Wentz said about 600 flags have been sold. Flags may be purchased online at healingfield.org/naperville, or with an order form available at the Naperville Park District.
Flags are $30, or $35 with a yellow tag to honor a person or express a message. The flags may be picked up and taken home at the end of the event.
"if we sell all 2012 flags, we'll raise about $60,000 for traumatic brain injury research. And our partner, Operation Support Our Troops America, will match our donation," Wentz said,
Naperville's Veterans Day ceremony will also be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at the field.
"We are focusing on how this event brings the community together," Wentz said. "As you walk through the field and talk to people, there is a tremendous outpouring of support for our military and people just tell you their stories."