A field of flags stands near the Oklahoma state capitol to help bring awareness to the issue of child abuse in the United States.
The National Children's Alliance estimates more than 8,000 cases of child abuse were reported nationwide in 2011. That's enough children to fill the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
Drew Schwartz with Exchange Clubs of Downtown-Oklahoma City is one of 50 volunteers who placed the flags just south of the state capitol.
"You walk through it and see the flags running in the wind, you hear them and it's a very peaceful place," said Schwartz.
Schwartz believes the display is a nice way to honor child abuse victims. The colors fly to represent the children left black and blue. Each flag stands for a child who died at the hand of another.
"We are out to defend the innocent children because nothing should happen to an innocent child," said Schwartz.
More than 1,000 American flags represent the nationwide problem and 42 Oklahoma flags represent the cases of neglect or death from child abuse in the state in 2010.
"This is Oklahoma and the United States so we should work to protect our defenseless young kids who have died as a result of child abuse."
Schwartz says recent statistics show the number of child deaths in 2012 compared to 2011. By April of 2011, the state medical examiner's office ruled seven child deaths as homicides. During that same time frame in 2012, the medical examiner determined six children have died at the hand of another. And there are several cases that are still under investigation.
Now, the Exchange Clubs is offering help to prevent the problem in the future.
"We are here to say ‘Hey, we will be here if you need help. Please come to us and we will help you.'"
It's a message being delivered with a wave.
"It represents the freedom of a child and the innocence of a child along with American pride."
The Exchange Clubs place the field of flags here each year as a reminder for lawmakers, and as a way to get more info out about the "Parent Promise" child abuse prevention center.
For more information about Parent Promise, click the link http://parentpromise.org/