MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Dale Hemphill is giving back to his fellow veterans by flying his patriotic flag high. It’s red, white, and blue, but isn’t the American flag. It’s the Spirit of America flag which he started designing over 30 years ago.
“This flag covers everybody,” said Hemphill. The flag honors “Old Glory”, veterans of all wars, and people who lost their lives on September 11th.
Hemphill said he was on a trip to Washington, D.C., when the idea hit him like a light. He returned home and sketched the first design.
The flag has been changed a few times over the years, but still holds the same meaning. The most recent change is the addition of an eagle to each side.
Hemphill said this is his way of honoring those who’ve served. "This is my way of giving back,” said Hemphill.
The flag has even made its way around the world. It’s flown on military bases in Afghanistan and even high in the sky.
“They put it in a F15 jet and also a C130 and they said, Dale it might have a little moon dust on it when it gets back because they’re going to shoot that F15 straight up in the air,” said Hemphill.
Hemphill of course is sharing his flag with friends and fellow veterans. He has books filled of photos and letters about his flag.
Some of the best memories for him include sharing it with his friend, Bob Heft, who designed the 50 star American flag we all know today and giving the Spirit of America Flag to the last surviving World War I Veteran Frank Buckles.
The three of them posed for a picture together with the flag. "Here’s me of course then Frank Buckles is the last American World War I Veteran and Bob Heft is the designer of the 50 star American flag,” said Hemphill.
Hemphill hopes his design registers with anyone who sees it. "I wanted something that people can look at when you see this flag you can see all the names in there, your grandfather, son, daughter, whatever,” said Hemphill.