Friday, September 9, 2022
Seven years ago, I was tasked with creating an event or experience that our community could look forward to each year, one that could live on after we are gone. It was during this contemplative time that the Field of Heroes was born, and we've held it every year since. The Field of Heroes was the first of its kind in the Marianas, and it has evolved over the past seven years into something truly special and unique.
Before planning the Field of Heroes, I remember coming across an article that introduced the concept of a healing field, a designate safe and comfortable place where people can honor the fallen and heal as a community. The Field of Healing is a sacred space where anyone can go to meditate, pray, reflect, reconnect, and heal after suffering a loss, while also honoring and remembering our community heroes who are still here today. During this time, the war in Afghanistan was at its peak andour local Echo Company was about to embark on their second deployment, and I felt that a healing field is what our community needed.
Originally, Field of Heroes was a significant way to honor our 9/11 community heroes, but as time went on, we expanded on the concept of what it means to be a community hero. Our first responders have come to our aid in times of disaster and need, and now, the pandemic. Through the Field of Heroes, we recognize their valuable effort because our community wouldn’t be as strong as it is today without their support.
The Field of Heroes has grown over the years, and our community has looked forward to embracing the flags that have provided a sense of comfort and healing. I’ve always believed that as every year approaches, people start to understand the concept a little more.
Because of the positive results in previous years, we've extended the time for the flags to be flown, and families can now enjoy the 650 flags – each one representing a local hero – flying on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota for 30 days rather than two weeks. The United States flags have been installed at three locations since August 31 and will be up until the end of September: American Memorial Park on Saipan, the Veterans Memorial Park on Tinian, and the Corporal Joe G. Charfauros Jr. Rota Veterans Memorial Park on Rota.
We Will Never Forget: Field of Heroes Support
We’re so grateful to partner with the Northern Marianas Humanities Council which has been a great supporter of the Field of Heroes. The Humanities Council has been a huge supporter over the years because they have a program dedicated to the health and wellness of the CNMI’s community heroes and their families. We appreciate the Humanities Council’s initiative to lead activities and raise awareness of issues affecting the islands’ community heroes.
I’d like to also acknowledge the 26 sponsors that have contributed to this year’s Field of Heroes event. The presenting sponsors include Tan Holdings and the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, and the Heritage sponsor is J.C. Tenorio Enterprises. Field sponsors include the National Park Service/American Memorial Park, the Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan, and the Office of the Mayor of Rota. The Stars and Stripes sponsors are Bank of Guam, First Hawaiian Bank, E-Land Group, IT&E, GPPC, Triple J, Matson, and The Marianas Variety. Patron sponsors include Bridge Capital, LLC, D&Q, Docomo Pacific, Hotel Valentino, and Hyatt Regency, JET Holdings Company, Mar Pac, Inc., McDonald’s of Saipan, the Saipan Mayors Office, Pacific Insurance Underwriters, Inc., and Shirley’s Coffee Shop. Other sponsors include Sorensen Media Group/Power 99, City Trust Bank, Traders Insurance, and National Office Supply.
I warmly invite our community to join us this Saturday, Sept. 10, for the We Will Never Forget Motorcade to ride in unity and express our appreciation for all our community heroes– first responders, law enforcement officers, and our military and veterns. For those who can’t participate in the motorcade, I encourage our community to participate by waving, decorating, or placing up signs along the roadside of the convoy route.
The We Will Never Forget: Field of Heroes Convoy route will be the following:
· Starting from the American Memorial Park (AMP) parking lot, turn left on “Micro Beach Road” and proceed to Beach Road.
· Turn right at 3 way stop to proceed south on Beach Road.
· Proceed onto Koblerville Road, turn right at the Tototville stop.
· Proceed on Chalan Monsignor Martinez and turn right at the Route 32 traffic light, and head to the Saipan International Airport.
· Turn right at the entrance to the airport and proceed through the “Departure and Arrival,” go straight on the Terminal Loop passing the POI Aviation building and turn right.
· Proceed to Chalan Tun Herman Pan Road and turn right at traffic light to go up to San Vicente.
· Proceed on Route 31, Isa Drive- to Capital Hill and Sadog Tasi.
· Turn left at traffic light, going south on Chalan Pale Arnold Road.
· Turn right at the Commonwealth Healthcare Center traffic light and back to AMP.
Honoring and remembering our community heroes
We are all aware of the sacrifices that our first responders make, whether it was 21 years ago or a year ago, one thing remains constant: our community heroes' dedication to their sworn duties is everlasting.
Being a former law enforcement officer, we understand the decision to serve the community and keep the public safe. As a family member, there’s a deep calling, one that has to be answered and we accept the duties and possible risk our loved ones take in their choice of service.
We want our community heroes to know that our community appreciates and honor their decision to uphold the responsibility of keeping us safe and saving lives every day. As we honor and remember our frontliners, we’d like to give the utmost thanks to our Marianas for all the sacrifices they make for the betterment of our community. Together, We Can!
For more information visit the GCEA website at cnmieconomy.com. Engage with the Council on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy) or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Catherine Attao-Toves
Catherine Attao-Toves is the Tan Holdings vice president for corporate affairs and human re
sources. Catherine proudly served the Homeland Security/TSA for 14 years, and still carries on the pride in honoring and remembering all community heroes.