Just inside the iron gates of on Rochester Road in Oakland Township, 245 American flags arranged meticulously in six rows flap in the breeze.
Each of the flags represents a Michigan soldier who has died as a result of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and each flag pole also bears that soldier's name, photograph, hometown and a short biography.
There are more than 10 area soldiers, including from Brighton and Howell. (See the table below this story for a key to find area soldiers in the photo gallery).
“We’ve done the flags for the past couple years, and the idea to add the tags with the bios on it was a collective idea," said Guardian Angel Cemetery Director Wendy Mann. “We’ve been working on it for the past couple months. It’s definitely a project.”
Mann said the Field of Honor was erected near the silo on Tuesday, but heavy rain flooded the area and forced grounds crews to move the entire display to higher ground. Crews were putting the finishing touches on the patriotic display this afternoon.
“It’s really eye-opening when you see a photo of someone – when you see a photo of a boy, really, or a young girl – that’s on the cards that could be your neighbor or anything like that, and it’s just, to see all the cards up, it’s quite overwhelming.”
Mann said the goal of the Field of Honor is simply to pay tribute to Michigan's fallen soldiers.
"Look at what these people sacrificed," she said. "It’s just amazing."Hometown Name Order in Gallery Brighton Army Spc. Andrew Patrick Daul 159 Byron Army Pfc. Allan A. Morr 101 Fowlerville Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Kipela 72 Holly Army Sgt. Thomas G. Wright 35 Howell Army Spc. Wilson A. Algrim 175 Howell Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin P. Castiglione 163 Howell Army Pfc. John Michael Meyer 80 Milford Marine Cpl. Mark D. Kidd 89 Milford Army Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Stone 119 South Lyon Marine Lance Cpl. Dominic Ciaramitaro 161 White Lake Army Cpl. Alexander J. Kolasa 92
Guardian Angel Cemetery is hosting a Memorial Mass at 2 p.m. on Sunday followed by a service to honor all veterans and soldiers. For more information, call Terri Williams at 248-651-8137.