A ‘symbol’ of love for America: Lorien Taneytown residents, veterans take pride in U.S. flag artwork

The Taneytown History Museum, which celebrated its 15th birthday at the beginning of the month, is displaying a unique symbol of patriotism created by the residents of Lorien Taneytown assisted living facility, with the help of members of the Taneytown Lions Club.

About 1,872 toy soldiers painted red, white, and blue were mounted on a 24-by-40-inch piece of plywood to replicate the flag of the United States. Upon completion, the piece was gifted to the museum.


The novel piece of artwork was completed by artists over 80 years old, on average.

Inspired by a story she had seen, Verna Toms, assisted living life enrichment coordinator, presented the idea to the Lorien residents, who quickly got on board with it.

“I saw an article about this young man who created a flag made with soldiers ... thought it was a remarkable idea,” Toms said. “When I learned what the museum display was going to be this year, I thought it would be a meaningful project that the residents could relate to. I presented the idea to the residents to see if this was something they would want to do. Everyone loved the idea.”

Completion of the project was a community effort. Paul Garver, who currently serves as past president of the Taneytown Lions Club, and Lions Club members Debby Granahan and Ken Dellwig played key roles in helping with the project.

On July 1, the project was presented to the Taneytown History Museum. Sandra Crouse, president of the Taneytown Heritage and Museum Association, was delighted with the gift.

She said, “Carroll Hahn, George Naylor (a World War II veteran) and myself were at the museum to welcome the visitors. We were thrilled to see the American flag the residents had made, and they were so proud of their accomplishment.”

The flag is accompanied by a sign that says:

There is a difference … Armed Forces Day … honors those serving. Memorial Day … remembering those who died while serving. Veterans Day … honoring those who served. We choose to honor all.

Donated to the Taneytown Museum

Made by residents of Lorien Health Services

Assisted by Taneytown Lions Club

Some of the project participants, several of them World War II veterans, spoke during their monthly game day about what it means to them. There was overwhelming agreement that it represented those who sacrificed for freedom, gave the participants a sense of community and left them feeling proud to be Americans. Veterans who took part in the project included Dona Adams, Jerry Gibson and Bill Mitchell.

Lola Adams, 92, said the project “represents all the young men and women who worked to save the USA, even died [for it].” Adams worked in the War Department during World War II. She signed confidentiality papers, swearing she would never talk about her job and never has. She resides at Lorien with her husband Don Adams, 94, who was trained as a medic. They have been married for 70 years.

Georgia Watts said, “[The project means] freedom and sacrifices our soldiers made for our freedom.”


Monte Hatcher did not take part in the project but admired the finished piece, indicating it took a lot of work to finish.

“It is a symbol of our wonderful country and our love for it," he said. "It gives me a lump in my throat.”