Weber County volunteers organize tribute to fallen soldiers

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OGDEN -- Dozens of Utah patriots this week will assemble one of the largest tributes to America's fallen heroes the state has ever seen. One of the organizers has a heartfelt reason to show his support.

Bob Lehmiller's son, Michael, died in Afghanistan in 2005. He wants to be certain we never forget that sacrifice.

In two days, Lehmiller and a team of volunteers will turn a 5-acre field of green at the Weber County Fairgrounds into a Healing Field.

Nearly 5,000 American flags will billow in the breeze: a tribute to the nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Each flag will bear a soldier's name and yellow ribbon.

"Every one of them will have a name out there on the field. People can come by. They can stroll through the field. They can look at those names. They can identify with the soldier," Lehmiller said.

Lehmiller has invested a lot of time in this tribute, and others in recent years. When people ask him why he does it, he says his hero, his son, should be more than a name on a monument.

**What is the Healing Field?**![](
The Healing Field program began to remember those lost on September 11, 2001. Since the first Healing Field in 2002, hundreds of communities across America have hosted a Healing Field or Fields of Honor to raise money and awareness for a growing array of causes. These fields of American flags have helped to honor the sacrifice of our service men and women, raise awareness for the tragedy of child abuse or domestic violence, honor veterans past and present, raise awareness for heart disease and cancer and more. - *Colonial Flag Foundation*
"Something like this is great because Mike always said, ‘Dad, just don't let me be forgotten.' This is just another way of making sure I fulfill that promise I made him," Lehmiller said. This tribute started off as a way for the Gold Star Families of Utah to show their appreciation to the Patriot Guard Riders for their presence at funerals and other military events. Their "Gathering of the Guard" national event takes place in Ogden July 30 through Aug. 2.

"We thought we'd go the weekend before, and we have that whole week gearing up for the Patriot Guard. Everything would be up when they got here, then roll it through until their departure," Lehmiller said.

There are a number of events at the Healing Field, from July 23 through Aug. 3, including the centerpiece ceremony July 30.


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Jed Boal


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