The flags are part of the traveling Ohio Flags of Honor Foundation.
Mayor Jim Kalb, Boy Scout leader Phil Malone and Wheelersburg resident William Etterling led the opening ceremony of the display on Friday.
Etterling is the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Etterling, 22, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq on Jan. 26, 2005.
“Flag Day came and went with little or no fanfare this year (on Thursday),” he said. “But I realize with all the flags I see every day, that every day is actually Flag Day.”
The ceremony honored Etterling and all of the other Ohioans killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“There is a saying that in time of peace, sons bury their fathers,” William Etterling said. “But in times of war, fathers bury their sons.”
Volunteers carried flags adorned with a black ribbon over to Etterling, who read the name of the service member is was dedicated to.
The flag was then place in area at the east end of the park.
That part of the ceremony took about 30 minutes.
The ceremony ended with the James Dickey Post 23 honor guard playing “Taps.”
Boy Scout Troops 2, 12 and 52 helped set up the flags in the park.
Only a handful of people attended the ceremony, a fact not lost on Etterling.
“This has been a tremendously successful day and I wish more people would have come,” he said. “I don't know if you could get them if you'd offer free beer and popcorn. American people are not for crowds unless it's a football game or a rock star is coming to town. But I have seen great deal of patriotism with a lot of flags flying. A lot of people are proud to be American, as we are.”
The flags will remain through today before traveling to Columbus for a display next weekend at Crew Stadium.
The foundation started in 2004 after Gino and Lisa Zimmer learned their son, Nick, a U.S. Army specialist, had been killed in Iraq.
Because of the support of motorcycle clubs and organizations at his funeral, the Zimmers formed Operation Iraqi Freedom Chopper Fund, the forerunner to the honor foundation.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.