Flag garden illustrates Memorial Day message: Freedom is never free

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The University of Phoenix continues its Memorial Day tradition of honoring America's veterans with a unique flag tribute.

Volunteers spent the morning planting 10,000 flags to send a powerful message: Freedom is never free.

"It's very important to honor those who have gone before and made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy today," Col. Garland Williams told 3TV's Heidi Goitia as dozens of volunteers planted the flags.

"It's important to remember that there's always somebody out there standing the watch, somebody willing to put their life on the line," Sr. Chief Christine Martinez, a former 3TV producer, said.

On Friday, the flags will be harvested and taken to veterans cemeteries throughout the state.

Last year's display featured the message, "All gave some. Some gave all." In 2012, the message was a single word -- Remember.

In conjunction with the Memorial Day flag ceremony, University of Phoenix encourages donations to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is a lifeline for deployed service members, allowing them to communicate to loved ones back home during emergencies and provide social services, emergency travel, financial assistance and mental health support for returning service members and their families.

"We have a history of working with active duty, reserve, National Guard and veterans," local Red Cross spokeswoman Noreen Watts said.

The University of Phoenix also invites everyone to visit its Memorial Day 2014 Virtual Tribute Wall to post an online message showing appreciation of service to U.S. military members -- past and present.

"We want to make sure that our servicemen and women right now understand that we're behind them in whatever they do," Williams said.

University of Phoenix is located at 4045 S. Riverpoint Parkway, off Interstate 10 and University Drive.

Memorial Day is Monday.