Patriotism by the gallon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Features Editor

Jim Peacock almost lost his wife, Linda, to cancer last year.

She is so precious to him that he would do anything for her – even paint a giant American flag on a hillside, if she asked him.

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She did and he did.

"After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, everyone was displaying flags and we couldn’t even get enough flags here at the store (Hendrick’s HomeCenter) to meet the demands," Peacock said. "Linda wanted to do something to show our patriotism and she had the idea to paint a huge American flag on the ground."

If she wanted it, Peacock was determined that she would get it. However, he suggested the flag be painted on a hillside so it could be seen. "No one could see it on the ground," Peacock said. "If we were going to take the time to paint it, I wanted people to be able to see it and enjoy it."

Peacock found the perfect place

to "fly the flag"

Between his mother-in-law’s (Elaine Stokes) property and his, a terrace exists that is visible from the highway. It makes a perfect canvas for the piece of art. So, it was there, the Peacocks began to design their symbol of patriotism.

They wanted to have the flag "flying" before Veterans Day, but time didn’t permit. The Peacocks got the project under way, first by designing the huge flag and then putting it on the grass canvas.

Jim Peacock used a 4- by 6-foot flag as a scale model for the 20- by 38-foot flag he was going to paint..

He took a lot of thought and planning but he finally roughed-in

the design and he and Linda cut 12-inch stars from corrugated cardboard for use as stencils.

To make the job of painting such a large grassy area easier, Ralph Crawley loaned Peacock a spray paint rig and Hendrick’s loaned the generator to run it.

"There is not doubt it was faster and easier to spray the design than it would have been to brush it on or roll it," Peacock said. "I really appreciated their help."


Peacock painted the area white; he used six gallons of white paint for that. Then, he painted on the red stripes; it took three gallons for that.

"Next, Linda and I

put the stars in place and painted over them with a gallon of blue," Peacock said. "When the blue paint dried, we lifted the a paper star-stencils off and we had 50 white stars – just where they were supposed to be."

The project took about eight hours to complete, but when the Peacocks stood back, they saw all the time and effort had been worthwhile.

"It is our hope that other people will be moved by the flag," Mrs. Peacock said. "After the attacks on Sept. 11, I became more patriotic and, I guess my reason for wanting the flag was to show our appreciation for the freedoms that we have here in America.

"It is important the we keep reminders of these freedoms before the public. We have a lot of people who come by and take pictures and others who just stop and look and surely it makes them feel something. That’s where I’m coming from on this. I am deeply moved by the spirit of patriotism that is sweeping our country, and I wanted to be a part of it.

Mrs. Peacock said she also sees evidence of people turning to God. "Our slogan is "In God We Trust" and we are putting our trust in Him to bring us through this and He will."