Tri-Stater lines street with flags to honor fallen soldier

One Illinois man has a unique way of showing his support for fallen heroes.

Larry Eckhardt, 53, along with volunteers, are putting up 2,100 flags in Henderson Friday night in honor of 20-year-old specialist David Taylor, a Webster County soldier recently killed in Afghanistan.

Eckhardt says they'll be lining the streets from Henderson's city limits to Rudy Rowland Funeral Home, where Taylor's services will be held early next week.

All the flags, Eckhardt tells us, are a statement of the sacrifice soldiers make for everyday freedoms.

"I'm probably the most blessed man in the country, because I get to come into a town at its absolute worst because they lost somebody and I get to see it at its absolute best," said Eckhardt.

For Eckhardt, lovingly nicknamed 'The Flag Man', this town is number 79. He says he travels around to multiple mid-western states.

"If I can get there, I'll go," Eckhardt said.

Friday, stopping in Henderson, lining the streets with 2,100 flags to honor fallen Webster County soldier, Specialist David Taylor.

"It's just something that needed to be done," Eckhardt said.

Eckhardt tells 14 News, volunteers of all ages and backgrounds come to help put up those flags, hundreds of which have special meaning, marked with names and pictures of 9/11 victims.

Volunteers like Vietnam Veteran Jim Hanley say this honor for specialist Taylor is well-deserved.

"I can't explain it in words. For the freedoms they done for us, I can't, it's even, it's just an honor to do this for them," Hanley told 14 News.

And for 'The Flag Man', who has no military connections in his family, it's not about awards or recognition. It's just his way of showing his gratitude for American freedoms.

"The saddest part of this whole thing is that I never got to meet these kids when they were alive. I'd have been honored beyond all expression to meet them when they were alive," Eckhardt said.

Eckhardt tells us he usually leaves those flags up until about two hours after a military funeral.

A visitation for David Taylor will be Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with funeral services at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Rudy Rowland Funeral Home in Henderson.

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