Altoona man displays thousands of flags for Memorial Day

Over a thousand flags are displayed at Johnny Box's home for Memorial Day.
Over a thousand flags are displayed at Johnny Box's home for Memorial Day.(WBRC)
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 8:01 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Ala. (WBRC) - Memorial Day is a day we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

In a small town in Blount County, there’s a home surrounded with hundreds of flags to honor those very men and women.

“There’s two decisive forces in this world that’s guaranteed that they would give their life for you,” said Johnny Box. “One was your Lord and Savior and the other is a U.S. service member. "

Over a thousand flags in his yard represent just some of the many lives lost while fighting for the United States.

Johnny Box likes to call Memorial Day, Freedom Day because that’s what the servicemembers fought for.

He lives in Altoona, a small town with less people than flags in his yard for Memorial Day. He says they know for a fact there’s over a thousand flags.

For the past four years, he and his wife placed each flag by hand in perfect rows.

“They’re ran on a East-West heading,” he explained. “For every 9 foot, there’s a flag and on the North-South heading, they’re every four foot.” Box says that’s how the tombs are lined up at any national cemetery.

He served in the Alabama National Guard for a total of 26 years.

“In a little place in Afghanistan, we’d been on mission,” said Box. “It’d been a bad day. I see this flag way out in the distance, an American flag... I’m tired. I’m hungry and we’re on alert constantly and I can see that flag and I know there’s safety there and comfort there.”

While that flag was comforting for him, now his flags are impacting others.

“A young lady talked to us about her father was in the pentagon during 9/11,” Box remembers. “She told us it’s so emotional and it’s unbelievable and she thanked us from the bottom of her heart for what we’ve done... and just asking you to remember.”

Remembering those who give their lives each and every day so we can live ours.

“It’s an honor to do this,” said Box. “It’s the least I could do. They left this world making sure that I had freedom and that’s why I do it.”

While many people will be celebrating the holiday off of work, Johnny Box hopes everyone will take at least a moment to remember the real reason behind Memorial Day.


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