© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Veterans Ready Flag Display for Veterans Day

By Laura Ziegler


Kansas City, Missouri – Anne and Don Bender have been tending the display of American flags since 4th of July along their busy property line just south of 95th Street on State Line. Each Sunday, they add more flags in memory of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The count- 3,336. That's a lot of flags.

But yesterday was Veterans Day, and throughout last week, vets came help so the display would look good on the day set aside to honor soldiers.

Laura Ziegler prepared this audio postcard.

----------------- View more photos

Friday there were two men, working in jeans, one in a black t-shirt and a cap identifying him as a Vietnam vet. They were straightening several rows of small flags along the white picket fence, rows so long, they almost extended beyond the Bender's vast property line, into the neighbors yard. The neighbors have said they can keep going onto their property.

Stooping over each flag, they were poking the ground with a screwdriver so the flags will stand straight.

Dave Weeks: "My name is Dave Weeks and what these flags represent are soldiers killed in combat during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But it could be the same symbolization for any group of vets, Korean, World War II, Vietnam, any war that has been fought.

Sound vets on ground fiddling with flags

Laura Ziegler and Dave Weeks: "That's a piece of pipe? PCB pipe. To make the rows straight? That's the plan."

Using a thin white piece of plumbing pipe as a ruler, perpendicular to the picket fence, they inched their way down the block, meticulously measuring each row, so that the flags are symmetrical, pushing back the fallen yellow leaves from the locust trees overhead.

Earlier they'd pulled every flag out, and moved them back from the street, closer to the Benders lot line, anticipating snow ploughs later, on State Line.

Dave Weeks: "We've inset the flags, about three feet further back, so got about six feet here. And probably when snow is ploughed, snow won't come that far. Maybe it won't snow this year. Laura: But ground will probably freeze. Dave: But even when it freezes, you can still push through it, will be harder, but still can push through it."

Andy Enders: "We're trying to give these kids, coming back, what we were not given."

Vietnam vet Andy Enders said when he saw these flags fading as the summer turned to the fall, and there were questions about weather the display would continue, he knew he'd get involved.

Andy Anders: "Just the satisfaction of doing this is a healing process for us, and that's what this is all about. We've been trying to heal a long time."

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.