Bartlesville veteran displays more than 1,000 flags throughout neighborhood on Memorial Day

Posted at 6:26 PM, May 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-29 19:45:23-04

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- A veteran is going above his call of duty to remember the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

For the past 10 years, Robert Hunley has collected and displayed flags to honor veterans and first responders. The collection now includes more than 1,000 flags, which span at least six blocks in the Oak Park neighborhood.

"The military has always been my life, and it will probably always will be my life," Hunley said. "I just can't it out of my life."

Hunley spent 21 years in the Army and now sees the flags as an extension of his military service.

"Without the freedom that we have today because of our veterans, these flags wouldn't go up," he said. "They wouldn't mean anything if they did go up if we didn't have our veterans to thank."

His neighbors said they always expect to see a lot more traffic every time the impressive display goes up.

"It's a good thing," Terry Hilderbrand, Hunley's next door neighbor, said. "It kind of makes the neighborhood perk up a little."

Hilderbrand said he admires his neighbor for dedicating so much time and money to keeping the flags flying.

"The fervor that's there for him to get out on his motorized wheelchair and ride up and down the streets and stuff," Hilderbrand said, "it warms the cockles of your heart so-to-speak."

As the collection of flags grow, however, so do the number of thefts. Hunley reported that someone stole a flag this weekend, but he said no one will ever be able to take away his patriotism and pride.

"I keep telling my wife, 'This is it. I ain't buying no more,' but I always do," he said, smiling. "Every time someone walks up to me and says thank you for what you do, well, here I go. I go buy another batch (of flags)."

The flags currently on display will stay up until this weekend. Several local motorcycle clubs and churches will then take them all down and come back to set them up again for the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.

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