Written by Will Jukes
When I was growing up, I would wake up some morning in the dead middle of summer to see the streets of my neighborhood lined with straight rows of little red, white and blue banners. I took for granted that this was something that happened in every neighborhood in America. I guess in my young brain I assumed it was one of the city's basic duties, outlined in the charter, along with paving roads and catching stray dogs. But it's something private citizens have to do every year, working for days in the high heat of summer, to bring us this small reminder of the holiday.
In Irving, that role is filled by Nell Anne Hunt, resident of University Hills and founder of the Great Flag Caper, an organization that for more than 20 years has worked to bring the singular American tradition of the miniature flag to the City of Irving. And though the organization had modest beginnings, Hunt estimates they planted 40,000 flags this year, including a grand promenade along the whole 10.5 miles of MacArthur from Grand Prairie to Coppell.
“Actually, I'd just moved to my neighborhood and when the 4th of July came around I thought I'd do something nice in return,” Hunt said. “Everybody liked it so much that I got 400 flags instead of 200, and then the next year they liked it so much they said 'let's do the whole neighborhood,' and then the city liked it so much the next year they said 'let's do the whole city.'”
The project has grown even more since. Hunt says it's now a year-round project, and that she's had to organize it as a 501c(3) tax exempt organization to help facilitate the project.