One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite
November 5–12, 2017
by Paul Benedict
Twelve years ago, the members of the Exchange Club of Mesquite founded a tradition and a source of pride in our valley, One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite, an annual week-long tribute to America’s military and veterans.
Each year, volunteers step forward to help set up a field of 1000 full-size American flags on the Mesquite Recreation Center field, and help dismantle it when the week is over. Patriotic souls dedicate three hours of their time to stand watch over the field 24-hours a day for the duration of the event. The Veterans Day events and closing ceremonies are well-attended.
One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite touches the hearts of everyone, drawing visitors (and volunteers) from hundreds of miles away. Truckers sound their air horns in respect as they pass on the interstate. The ceremonies are standing-room only, and the assistance from the city, business sponsors, and other community organizations is invaluable.
This year, Exchange Club members and volunteers will erect the flags on the west field of the Mesquite Recreation Center on Sunday morning, November 5. This stunning display of respect will stand proudly until November 12, 24-hours a day in rain or shine. Of course, the field is lit at night, and dedicated volunteers will maintain a watchful vigil in three hour shifts.
Walk slowly through the field. Each star-spangled sentinel represents the silent stories of thousands of brave Americans who have served and are serving our great nation at home and abroad. Listen to their stories with your heart, read the dedications, offer your thanks for their sacrifices, and share your silent prayers with them.
Whether this is the first time you experience One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite, or whether you make it a point to witness and be part of this magnificent display every year, the sense of patriotism you feel cannot be described — you simply have to experience it for yourself. Visit as often as you would like, and be sure to bring your camera; the precision and grandeur of the display is truly memorable.
On Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11 at 6:00 PM, a heartwarming ceremony will be conducted at the field honoring those who have served, and your presence is encouraged.
On Sunday, November 12 at 2:00 PM, a closing ceremony will be conducted, including a formal flag retirement ceremony by the Mesquite Fire Department. If you have a worn or weathered American flag that should be retired, please feel free to bring it to the field anytime during the week.
The Exchange Club of Mesquite is a major supporter of programs and services for local veterans right here in the Virgin Valley, and One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite is a primary fundraiser. We invite you to sponsor a flag for $35 each. You will be given a ribbon of remembrance to attach to your flag in honor of, or in memory of an important veteran in your life. There is room on the dedication tag to add your own words of recognition. Remember, One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite honors every veteran and member of America’s military, living or deceased.
After the closing ceremony, you are welcome to either take the flag you sponsored home to proudly display, or donate it back to the project, to be included in next year’s One Thousand Flags Over Mesquite. In either case, keep your dedication ribbon as a reminder of your special veteran.