The first U.S. Navy SEAL admiral will anchor the Newport Harbor Exchange Club's Armed Forces Day weekend flag display by receiving a special honor at the Newport Beach event this weekend.
Each year for the display, the Exchange Club plants 1,776 American flags at Castaways Park.
The event honoring veterans is open to the public, but the Exchange Club also accepts donations for wounded warriors and transitional services for veterans.
Attendees can pay $45 to dedicate a flag to a specific member of the armed forces.
Richard Lyon, who became the first Navy SEAL admiral in 1974, will add a layer of living history to the display.
Exchange club members started getting to know Lyon when they invited him to a screening of the movie "Captain Phillips" and hit it off, said club President Bill Bechtel, so they asked him to be part of the Field of Honor dedication.
Last week they got a chance to meet Lyon during a meeting at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club.
He started by pointing out the window. "I can see my house on the bay," he said. The retired admiral lived in Newport Beach for 16 years. He now lives in Oceanside.
Lyon spoke about his Navy experience intertwining with the history of the SEALs.
After enlisting in 1942, Lyon graduated in the second class of recruits that would go on to become SEALs.
He signed up for the special assignment because he happened to see an ad on a cork board asking for strong swimmers, he said.
Now he's mentoring the 302nd class of recruits. Lyon tells them that those who persist through training will do so by living by one word.
"Those that are there will live by 'determination,'" he said.
Lyon will speak at the Field of Honor during the dedication at noon Saturday. Other veterans will be at the park to speak from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If You Go
What: Newport Harbor Exchange Club's Field of Honor
When: Friday to Sunday, with a dedication ceremony at noon Saturday
Where: Castaways Park, 700 Dover Drive, Newport Beach
Cost: Free to attend; $45 to dedicate a flag plus $10 to have it delivered