Flag project shows Bristol's collective patriotism


What started with a simple, cardboard sign has turned into a nearly two-mile long line of stars and stripes, displaying the collective patriotism felt around Bristol this time of year.

About three weeks ago, an anonymous resident stuck a cardboard sign in the ground at the north end of town just outside the Audubon Society property asking people to "Add a Flag" along the roadway. Once a few flags has been added, the grass-roots project began to take off.

Within two weeks, the line of flags extended south along Hope Street past Rockwell School. More and more residents have added American flags to the project, and the continuous line of red, white and blue now marches south for about two miles, all the way to Colt State Park, near the start of the July 4th parade at Hope and Chestnut streets.

The initiative has caught the attention of people all over Bristol, who have been promoting it on the Facebook pages and blogs. Stacia Jackson, mother of two students at Rockwell School, saw the line of flags approaching the Hope Street school and wanted to give students the chance to participate. So she bought 300 American flags from Stop & Shop — which contributed with a $50 gift card to help defray the cost — to give to the students.

"I drove by and thought that's such a good idea," Ms. Jackson said. "I was trying to get enough so each student could participate. Scheduling didn't let that happen, but about a quarter of the kids did, and all the flags went in. To see everyone adding a piece and taking part is awesome. That's what it's all about."

Nearby resident Patrick McCarthy shares her enthusiasm for the project and the collective patriotism it displays. "It's a patriotic, grass-roots effort in the most patriotic town," Mr. McCarthy said. "I think it's kind of neat."

Local blog "marching to a different beat" promoted the flag project, helping encrouage others to add to the long line of flags.

"I had to be part of this super cool movement. Wouldn't it be neat to be a part of driving into this little coastal Rhode Island town, greeted by hundreds or even thousands of little American flags waving in the breeze, guiding you to the start of the Oldest Fourth of July parade and celebration in the country? Of course it would," blogger "Melissa" writes. "It is exciting to see. I love this little town, this big celebration, and the love for our country. Happy 4th of July!"


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