July 31, 2008
By Tim Simard
Along North Williston Road, this simple word has been spelled out with more than 4,100 yellow and purple flags — each planted in the ground to symbolize every soldier who has been killed fighting in the war in Iraq. Located at Pat Brown and Amy Huntington's home, the war memorial has attracted numerous passing motorists to thank the couple for honoring those who have fallen in service to the United States.
Observer photo by Tim Simard
More than 4,100 yellow and purple marker flags spell out the word ‘CARE’ at Pat Brown and Amy Huntington’s North Williston Road home. Each flag represents a soldier who has died fighting in the war in Iraq.
Brown said he's been placing the flags on his property since November 2006 as a way to remember the sacrifices of the war. This summer, he decided to do something different with the memorial. He formed the markers at first into the word “think,” and then “feel” and now “care.” Brown changes the word every couple of weeks, when he has to temporarily remove the flags to mow the grass.
“I did it as a way for people to see, remember and stay informed,” Brown said. “This catches their attention more.”
Brown said it's not uncommon for motorists to stop along the road and thank him for the memorial. He even had a family of four stop at his house one day and offer to help plant the markers one afternoon when Brown was working.
The memorial has been emotionally trying at times for Brown, none more so than the time a man from Underhill stopped at the house to thank Brown for his work and see the site up close.
“He said to me, ‘That flag is my son,'” Brown said. “What do you say to that? It hits you hard.”
Removing the markers for lawn mowing and then replacing them can be a full afternoon project, and he welcomes the help he's received from area residents. Last year, Rep. Jim McCullough, D-Williston called on residents to help with the memorial, which then sparked community dialogue.
Overall, Brown said he has received support and positive feedback for the site. He said he doesn't want the flags to become a divisive topic, but instead wants them to remain a symbol of the bravery of the fighting forces.
“I've not said I'm anti-war and I've not said I'm pro-war, and I won't,” Brown said. “I just want people to think.”
Brown said he will update the number of flags once again this weekend. As of Tuesday, 4,124 soldiers had been killed fighting in Iraq, according to icasualties.org, a Web site that monitors the numbers of soldiers killed in action in Iraq.