While most tend to stock up on fireworks, this veteran chose to put his Fourth of July money towards flags. In an effort to honor and remember other veterans and 9/11 first responders, South Carolina U.S. Army vet David Rankin and his grandchildren add more flags to his front lawn every July. Each year, the neighborhood looks forward to the display, and the Rankin family enjoys hearing stories from other veterans and giving citizens a history lesson on our nation’s flag.
“The kids that put these up have learned a lot of American history and they love to come over and just stand out in the yard,” Rankin said.
When Rankin first placed the flags on his lawn, it was an effort to memorialize the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks that happened the previous year. Even a few neighbors participated in the display. However, each Fourth of July, Rankin’s grandchildren wanted to add more. Eventually, the number accumulated to this year’s count of 115 flags. Some are the traditional stars and stripes, others are historical and a few are other special designs.
Rankin is proud of his grandkids’ dedication to national pride and history. Even though some believe patriotism is fleeting these days, the U.S. Army veteran says it’s still alive.
“It’s a good lesson for [the kids] on American patriotism, which some think we don’t have much of anymore, but I think it’s still important to show our love for our country and what it’s done for us,” Rankin shared.
Fourth of July Display Allows Families to Honor Their Veterans
More than just a beautiful display of red, white and blue, the Rankin family’s flags also serve a more personal purpose.
According to the Army vet, he and his grandchildren supply markers to spectators with veterans in their families. The visitors can then write their loved ones’ names on any of the flag poles they choose in order to honor their service and sacrifice.
However, for veterans that come to see the Fourth of July display themselves, they get to chat with Rankin.
“Veterans come in, and you know, we get involved like veterans do with war stories,” Rankin said. “You know how veterans are.”
Rankin hopes that even after he’s gone, his grandchildren will continue their tradition every Fourth of July.
“[The kids] are the ones that run the show now. I just sort of stand around and try to look important,” the veteran joked.
Despite his humility, Rankin’s dedication to his country both before and after retirement is what makes the Fourth of July display so special.
Located along Millgate Road in Anderson, South Carolina, Rankin invites patriots and veterans alike to observe the flags on his yard.