Cowboy Church flies flags for July 4

Friday, July 3, 2009
Missouri Department of Transportation worker Josh Wessel of Jackson cuts weeds and brush Thursday around an area near the Cowboy Church in Oak Ridge. (Elizabeth Dodd)

Every morning this week, just after sunrise, volunteers have put up 300 U.S. flags around the Cape County Cowboy Church in Oak Ridge.

The church is flying the flags at its location off Interstate 55 in honor of the Fourth of July. They were first displayed Saturday evening. Since then volunteers have gone to the church to put up the flags at 6 a.m. each morning, and others have gone to take them down at 7:30 p.m. each evening. The flags will be on display until Sunday afternoon.

Al Lummus, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, has helped put up the flags. He said he feels a strong connection to the flag.

"It means the freedom that we fought for, the freedom that a lot of people died for," Lummus said.

Paul Spears served in the Air Force during the Korean War, working with the guns of fighter jets. He and his wife, Shelby, bought one of the flags, and both said it is meaningful to see them around the church.

"Makes you cry," Paul Spears said. "They're just beautiful, I think."

Pastor Jim Matthews got the idea to fly the flags from other churches in the area. Music minister Todd Mills said he expected 60 to 70 people to volunteer to buy flags, but there was a much greater response.

Church member Dolores Watson said Matthews "just mentioned it in a service, and all of a sudden there were 300 flags purchased by the congregation."

Matthews said the flags are meant to show the congregation's dedication to the country and to the Christian faith. He hoped the church's location just off the interstate would help make the flags a visible symbol.

"It sure does stir your heart a little bit, just putting the flags up and taking the flags down," Matthews said. "There's something special about that."

The Cowboy Church will honor the Fourth of July during its service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

astephens@semissourian.com

388-3654

Pertinent address:

220 Orchid Lane, Oak Ridge, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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