Display of flags honors the fallen Fort Campbell service members since 9/11

Patriots Park
Posted at 6:57 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 23:51:41-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As a place with tens of thousands of active duty service members and veterans, remembering those lost couldn't be more important to Clarksville. For more than 10 years, something has become a tradition for many.

For Jim Rodgers, a display of hundreds of flags at Patriots Park near Fort Campbell is a chance to teach.

"Out here with me today, I have four of my six children," Rodgers said.

"Y'all know why we do this?" Rodgers asked his children as they approached the display of flags.

"For the fallen soldiers," his son responded.

"There are 653 flags," Rodgers continued. "There's one for each person from Fort Campbell that died in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria."

"Do you have any friends up there?" his daughter asked.

"All of my friends who passed away are from Fort Bragg," Rodgers said. "My story is I joined the Army in 1997. Deployed to Afghanistan twice. Iraq once."

Today, Rodgers is commander for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Tennessee Chapter 18-2. That's the group who puts out the flags every Memorial Day, 4th of July, September 11, and Veterans Day.

"We remember them every day," Rodgers told his children. "This is just an outward sign of our remembrance."

At Patriots Park Monday, there were people who come to see the flags every year. There were people who were traveling through the city, saw the display and had to stop. Many were reminded of someone they lost.

"You guys don't know how much it means to me that you come out here and do this with me," Rodgers said to his children.

"I had several friends of mine who didn't come home from Afghanistan, and they left home a wife and children. Those children had to grow up without their father. That's why I'm so thankful to them because they made it to where I could come home to my children."

Rodgers told us his group is also working to create a memorial wall to honor Fort Campbell soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would also be at Patriots Park. The group is in the fundraising stages of the project right now.