Marianne Gaffey, left and husband, Robin Montgomery add
22 addtional flags to the Field of Flags that is on
display at the Congregational Church in Brookfield. The
new flags represent the American war casualties this
week in Iraq and Afganistan. Gaffey is on the committee
that is responsible for bringing the display to the
church. The Field of Flags will be displayed at the
Brookfield church, located at the intersection of Routes
25 and 133 in Brookfield Center for two more weeks.
Photo: Carol Kaliff / The News-Times
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The Field of Flags is a
memorial begun in 2005
with 2,231 American
flags. Since then, the
church has continued to
keep track of Americans
killed in the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan,
staking an additional
flag to honor
Church also lends out
the display, which
"a silent, patriotic and
poignant reminder of the
cost of war."
The Field of Flags is
now installed on the
grounds of the
Congregational Church in
Brookfield Center, at
the intersection of
routes 25 and 133, where
it is scheduled to stand
for two weeks.
A field of flags graced the lawn of the
Congregational Church of Brookfield to honor thousands
of lives lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
A sea of red, white and blue flags atop of a field of
green grass blew in the wind as Brookfielders gathered
to show gratitude to the men and women who died for our
The Congregational Church of Brookfield held a
dedication ceremony Saturday for the patriotic tribute
called "Field of Flags." Each flag represents a life
lost because of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Field of Flags was created in 2005 by members of the
Somers Congregational Church as a way to pay respect to
the brave servicemen and women who lost their lives as a
result of war. When the tribute first began in 2005
there were 2,231 American flags placed. Today that
number has grown to more than 5,582, "and is increasing
every day," said Marianne Gaffey in her opening remarks.
Gaffey is the wife of Brookfield Police Chief Robin
Montgomery, and one of the committee members for the
Field of Flags. Sue Slater, Joni Park, military veteran
and Historic District Commission Vice Chairman Bob Brown
and retired Whisconier Middle School social studies
teacher Barbara Anderson are also on the committee.
The flags are set 12 inches apart on each side to
resemble the Arlington National Cemetery. The flags were
set in place by over 50 church members, which included
20 teenage helpers from the church's Vacation Bible
School. Guide wires were used to ensure proper
Veterans from the community were in attendance for the
dedication ceremony and the mood was somber as speakers
recounted the lives lost not only in Iraq and
Afghanistan, but also in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Police Chief Montgomery recognized Emil Samuelson, "age
86, a survivor of Iwo Jima, WWII and a dedicated patriot
to this country." He recounted how when the troops
returned from WWI parades were held and returning
veterans were welcomed as heroes. Five years later, the
homecoming for Korean veterans was a far cry from that.
The conflict itself became known as "the forgotten war,"
The ceremony really hit home for Korean war veteran
Frank Johnson who served in the Marine Corps. Johnson is
the commander of the VFW in Brookfield. "People are
forgetting about this war. It's like the Korean war —
it's forgotten," Johnson said.
Johnson came to help set up the event at the church.
"Anything for the vets, I'll do," he said.
Represented by one of the flags is Brookfield's own,
Marine Lance Corporal John Schmidt, III, who died at the
age of 21 from wounds received as a result of an
explosion during combat against enemy forces in Iraq in
"Brookfield has honored his service by naming the soccer
field in his name," Montgomery said. "As a nation we now
attempt to make every effort possible to show our
support to our troops and what they represent to a
He continued, "We may disagree with our nation's
policies, but we will always be united in our unwavering
support of the men and women in our armed forces."
State Rep. David Scribner is a member of the church and
gave his opening remarks, thanking the dedicated men and
women who served and gave their lives. Scribner said he
was baptized and married in the church and thought it
was a very fitting place for the tribute to take place.
"It was right here where Brookfield was established as a
town," he said.
The display will be in place on the lawn of the church
over the next three weeks.
The Congregational Church of Brookfield encourages all
to "please continue to pray for our troops and for the
families of our fallen heroes."
The Congregational Church of Brookfield (CCB) is
honored to host the "Field of Flags," a traveling
tribute to fallen U.S. soldiers and those currently
serving, on church grounds for three weeks beginning
Friday, July 16.
Each flag in the field - now now numbering over 5,400 -
will represent not only a casualty, but also the family
and friends each fallen soldier left behind, CCB's
newsletter "Crossways" stated. "The flags also represent
our respect for those who have served, for those who are
currently serving,and for our hope for peace in the
The public is invited to attend a Field of Flags
dedication ceremony at 10am Saturday, July 17, onsite at
For more information on the history of the event and how
to help church organizers, click Congregational Church
of Brookfield. To contact the church, call (203)
775-1259 or email