North Texas teen Cameron James wanted to do something special for a friend in the U.S. Army who died last week, so he did the most patriotic thing he could come up with.
The 17-year-old spent four hours in the brutal summer heat Monday mowing his large front yard in Haslet into a giant American flag, complete with all 50 stars buzzed into the turf with a weed eater, KXAS reports.
“Our mower has different settings, so I just changed the settings so the grass would be different lengths for the strips,” James said.
“It was a lot of work, but it was worth it,” he said.
Drone footage of James’ creation shows Old Glory is clearly visible from hundreds of feet away, covering the entire yard in front of his large suburban home in Haslet. The tribute, James said, is dedicated to his friend who passed away last week while serving in the Army in Arizona, and it’s timed to coincide with the country’s Independence Day.
Media did not identify James’ friend, but the Associated Press reported on two soldiers who were found dead in southern Arizona last month, including Pfc. Kevin J. Christian of Haslet, Texas and Pfc. Steven Hodges of Menifee, California.
Army officials told the news service Christian, 21, was found dead near Ajo, Arizona on June 23, while Hodges was found dead on June 1 near Nogales, Arizona. Christian was an infantryman. Hodges was a grenadier.
Army officials launched an investigation into the deaths but do not believe foul play is involved, the AP reports.
James’ lawn is among others designed to show appreciation for the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces on the Fourth of July.
Illinois resident Kyle O’May is also getting a lot of attention for a massive American flag he and his friends painted on his front yard in Bourbonnais this week. O’May and friend Tyler Shear started on the project by getting the lawn in perfect condition over the last few weeks, then spray-painted a perfectly scaled American flag across O’May’s entire front yard on Monday.
“The bigger, the better,” he told WBBM. “The bigger you can make it, the better it is.”
The guys staked out lines and used cardboard to trace the strips, then painted the upper left square a field of blue, and used a star stencil to space them correctly.
“We’re measuring twice and spraying once,” O’May said. “I wanted to make sure that it was drawn to scale. I did as much as I could from my side all the way to the property line. I got all 50 stars in there, 13 stripes.”
O’May said he felt it was important to get the details right to show his appreciation for friends and family who have served in the military. The flag, which he first painted last year, ultimately measured 40 feet by 26 feet, WBBM reports.
“These guys over here, I don’t think they could go any further with it without offending the local authorities,” O’May’s neighbor, Anthony Fortino, joked with the news site.
“After we did it the first time, as soon as it got done, and we looked at it, we realized that this is going to have to get done every year,” O’May said. “There’s no escaping it. It’s not just for us. It’s for men and women shipped overseas, to their community around us.”
Shear told WBBM his motivation for helping is simple: “The easy answer is freedom for everybody here, men and women overseas.”
O’May said he’s hosting a Fourth of July party to show off his flag skills, and to solicit donations for the Wounded Warrior Project.