WALKER, Mich. — Honoring those who served , Bruce de Wit’s family tradition has brought Old Glory in bunches outside his West Michigan home. “It’s mostly to memorialize the people who gave up so much for the country we live in,” de Wit said.
All 116 cracks along the sidewalk get marked with an American flag, creating a stunning display of patriotism along his property.
“We've done it for a long time. The grandkids come out here every summer holiday and they put flags by every single one of the cracks,” de Wit explained.
A pride in country was instilled in de Wit and his family at an early age.
“Memorial Day has quite significance in my personal life because my mother was a Dutch immigrant and she was in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. She always really appreciated the soldiers who gave their lives to liberate the Netherlands, so she made sure that we understood what Memorial Day was all about,” de Wit said.
This year's display was put on with a heavier heart, Bruce’s mother passed away in April.
His grandkids came out last Thursday to help place the flags, but on Friday Bruce and his wife noticed something was wrong.
“74 of them are missing.”
Bruce, who likes to keep things positive, hopes it was the deer or wind that took away more than 70 of his family’s American flags. Though he knows that’s unlikely, the incident is not going to dull his drive to honor his country and those who fought for it.
“It is what it is, I hope that whoever took them is displaying them with the same honor and respect for the country, and those who lost their lives,” de Wit said.
He doesn't plan on filing a police report.
"I just want to put a positive spin on the whole thing. We plan on celebrating the Fourth of July, like my mother would have wanted. It’ll be a little bit different than these flags, but we'll do something for sure,” he added.
Bruce has received an outpouring of support since posting online, including donations to buy more flags and others asking to help put flags back up. He says he’s planning something special for Independence Day.