"Healing Field" of 3,031 Flages in Sandy, Utah
remembers the victims of September 11, 2001.

by Cal Hasley, Nov. 15, 2002

I never heard or saw anything about this in the media. I was going to the bank when I saw this. I went home, got my wife, Linda, and came back with a camera. Below is my best, though inadequate, attempt to share the experience with you...

3031 Flags panorama

The above picture was taken on the mall in front of the Sandy, Utah city hall. Scroll sideways to see the whole thing. I pasted the photos together to try and help show just how big this thing was, but even with that, the photos don't do it justice. There was very little publicity about this, but it was a real traffic stopper. People would park and get out and walk among the flags. Some brought bundles of flowers and left them at the base of a flag. Others came together and just hugged each other hard in the silent memory of the terrible loss that we suffered one year ago. We all know over 3000 people lost their lives, but seeing this display, and walking among it, helps put perspective on just how big a number that is.

Sign about 3031 Flags
To the left is a close-up of the one of the signs placed around the perimeter of the display. There were also some international flags on display representing some of the various foreign nations whose citizens dies that day. Interestingly, this whole display was done by a local company (Colonial Flags) that manufactures and distributes flags and flag display equipment...and I saw not a single sign bearing their name in the display. People walked through, and all you could hear was the sound of the flags blowing in the breeze. A reverent silence prevailed over the display as those who came each reviewed his or her experiences of that fateful day a year ago.

3031 Flags #3

I saw many families while I was there. It was hard watching adults struggling to cope with their own emotions while caring for children who were far too young to understand the significance of the flags around them. Too the credit of the children, I didn't see any who could not somehow sense that this was a special place. For a few moments, everyone who came, young and old, male and female, families, and even a group of mentally handicapped individuals stopped their busy daily lives to remember. If those who caused this pain only knew how much stronger we have become, and how terribly their comrades have paid, and will continue to pay, for this horrible crime, I wonder if they still would have done what they did.

3031 Flags #4

It's hard to picture mentally just how big this thing is. As I walked among the rows, I was reminded of rank on rank of soldiers standing at attention, guarding us even now.

3031 Flags #5
Some brought flowers, small flags, notes etc. The flags didn't have individual names on them so I don't know how people picked out where they would leave these tokens as they experienced their own memories and grief. For anyone who has ever shed a few tears at THE WALL (the Viet Nam Veterans memorial in Washington DC) or during the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA, this display is every bit as moving in its sheer power to remind those who come of just how deeply we all experienced the cowardly attack on innocent civilians in our own homeland.

3031 Flags #6

The display was originally conceived by Paul Swenson. He and his brother Dave, the owners of Colonial Flag, decided that rather than putting it up outside their company (where it might be considered a promotional display), they would put it up on a public square downtown. The photo below was furnished to me later by the company. The web site, www.healingfield.org is devoted to stories and pictures of this temporary memorial that was erected on Sept. 11-13, 2002 in Sandy, Utah. There you can learn about the concept and creation of the memorial, view photos of it and the people involved in putting it together, read others' stories and responses, and post your own.

3031 Flags aerial

I received the following e-mail on Jan. 22, 2004. "Thank you for your web page of our 2002 Healing Field memorial in Sandy, Utah on the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Your efforts to get the word out about our Healing Field was instrumental in its exposure around the world.
Our project has now grown to be a national program. In 2003 we sent out five 9/11 fields to communites around the country. We have plans to see over 50 fields in 2004. Healing Field is a non-profit project that helps our neighbors heal without forgetting.
Thank you and God Bless,
Lori Oakason, Executive Managing Director
Healing Field. 801-562-0123

Please direct others to this site in respect for those who died and their families.

Sign at WTC NYC

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