An Indiana wrestling coach has created a HUGE tribute on his front lawn to honor those who died in the Twin Tower attacks exactly 19 years ago.
And he created it all with his lawn mower.
It started when Rob Merchant, from Greenwood, plotted out and began working on a mega-size American lawn flag over Memorial Day weekend in honor of one of his former students, James “Jimmy” Waters—a wrestler at Whiteland Community High School. Merchant called Waters an “awesome kid” and an “inspiration.” After graduating in 2008, Waters enlisted in the Army, and he was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.
Merchant’s massive American flag went viral after the story was picked up by WTHR 13 over the July 4 weekend. But he felt that it wasn’t quite finished. He also wanted to honor the men and women who died in 9/11, as well as the heroic first responders who selflessly gave their lives coming to their aid on that fateful day.
Where the giant flag pole would have been, Merchant mowed two long parallel lines to form the outlines of the World Trade Center. Then he carefully plotted the letters “NYFD” adjacent on the other side of the Twin Towers.
“I soon added the Twin Towers but they didn’t have any context without the NYFD,” Merchant told The Epoch Times.
“I started in late July adding the letters. It takes several mows going the same direction to ‘train’ the grass. I started the letters by doing a one time checkerboard pattern. Essentially creating a yard sized grid paper.
“I then used that to create the initial letters and then it just becomes a repeating process.”
Under the flag, Merchant mowed in the grass a giant Ichthys symbol (or Jesus fish), typically used to proclaim one’s Christian affiliation.
The tragedy of 9/11 is one of those few times in the course of one’s life where you can recall exactly where you were when you heard about or saw it, Merchant says—just like the assassination of JFK, the Moon landing, and the Challenger explosion. For his and older generations, that day 19 years ago was a call for them to “never forget.”
And it was also a call for Americans to come together like few other times in American history—the Second World War being another notable example. The horror of both events brought out the spirit and determination of the American people.
“Strangers hugged and prayed together, neighbors cried together, churches were busting at the seams,” said Merchant. “There were lines to give blood. Flags were displayed in every way shape and form, big, small, clothes, hats … you name it.” For those who lived through the experience, 9/11 was a sort of redemption, uniting the “one nation under God.”
And what does that mean to Merchant?
“Be better!” he says. “Love your neighbor, pray and be better!”
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