ALTOONA, Ala. (WBRC) – Memorial Day is a day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
In a small town in Blount County, there is a house surrounded by hundreds of flags to honor those very men and women.
“There are two crucial forces in this world that would definitely give their lives for you,” said Johnny Box. “One was your Lord and Savior and the other is a US service member. “
Over a thousand flags in his yard represent just a few of the many lives he lost fighting for the United States.
Johnny Box likes to call Memorial Day Freedom Day because the soldiers fought for it.
He lives in Altoona, a small town with fewer people than flags in his Memorial Day garden. He says they know full well there are over a thousand flags.
For the past four years, he and his wife have placed each flag in perfect rows by hand.
“They’re going east-west,” he explained. “There’s a flag for every 9 feet and every four feet on the north-south direction.” Box says that’s how the graves are lined up in every national cemetery.
He served a total of 26 years in the Alabama National Guard.
“We were deployed to a small location in Afghanistan,” Box said. “It had been a bad day. I see that flag way out in the distance, an American flag… I’m tired. I’m hungry and we’re on constant alert and I can see that flag and I know there’s safety and comfort there.”
While this flag was comforting to him, now his flags affect others.
“A young lady spoke to us about her father being at the Pentagon during 9/11,” Box recalls. “She told us it was so emotional and incredible, and she thanked us from the bottom of her heart for what we did … and just asked you to remember.”
In memory of those who give their lives every day so that we can live ours.
“I’m honored to do this,” Box said. “It’s the least I could do. You left this world to make sure I had freedom and that’s why I’m doing it.”
While many people will celebrate the non-working holiday, Johnny Box hopes everyone will take at least a moment to remember the real reason behind Memorial Day.
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