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Katherine Stone was known as the “flag lady of Mount Dora.”
That's the name people gave her when she lived in Florida, after many years of adorning her yard with thousands of American flags and her front porch with red, white and blue for Independence Day and any other patriotic holiday.
Now, they've brought their tradition to their new home on Calhoun Street in downtown Galax.
Katherine is used to her house getting attention. The Stones decorate for every holiday, said husband David, “but July 4th is bigger than Christmas. Katherine has always considered herself very patriotic.”
The Stones' yard is filled with more than 1,000 miniature American flags, but this year is the first time they've included all 50 state flags.
It takes nearly four days to get all of the decorations up, but David doesn't mind.
“I think it's great that she does this,” he said.
In addition to every inch of the yard being dressed in flags, there are red, white and blue banners draped over the railings of front porch, a giant blow-up of Uncle Sam hanging from the ceiling and red, white and blue lights illuminating the front of the house at night.
Katherine plans to hang a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence on the front porch.
Just as people go all out to celebrate Christmas and Easter, Katherine felt Independence Day deserved the same respect. On July 4th, Katherine hands out small flags and red, white and blue wrapped candies to the children.
The Stones also go all out for Memorial Day, 9-11 and any other holiday.
Katherine made a promise to herself and her husband that anywhere they moved, she would have to have a flag pole. Sure enough, there's one at their new home at 300 Calhoun St., where the couple moved this year.
Since relocating to Galax from Florida, the big back yard space has allowed Katherine to purchase 300 additional flags, which she just ordered.
Her love for the flag and this country all started at the age of four, said Katherine, now 69 years old. She remembers attending a parade in Massachusetts, where she grew up, and seeing the red, white and blue colors waving in the air as a patriotic float passed.
“It's been a love affair ever since,” she said.
Katherine owns more than 4,000 American flags she has picked up at various times and places.
She hopes that her displayed love for the country inspires others to become a little more patriotic.
Patriotism is something that everyone should keep fresh in their hearts, she said. “There's just not enough of it. During 9-11, you could hardly find a flag anywhere. And now we're going back to our old ways.”
Her passion for the country, “warms my heart,” she said.
“This is the greatest country on Earth,” she said. “And we take it for granted.”