LOWESVILLE – It’s been five years since Renee DeLaPorte captivated the community by planting hundreds of American flags along Killian Farm Road in honor of Independence Day.
“This was a bucket list thing for me,” DeLaPorte said. “I just love the Fourth of July, and for me, it’s bigger than Christmas. People fought for our freedom, but sometimes they’re forgotten because we turn the Fourth of July into a barbecue.”
DeLaPorte manages Sifford Farm, a 200-year-old restored cotton plantation on 100 acres. She had long admired the line of trees that runs along Killian Farm Road on her way to work, and in the summer of 2015 she was inspired to transform the landscape into a vast display of patriotism.
“There are 120 trees than run along Killian Farm Road, and from the moment I saw that tree line I thought it was just begging for something more that would really catch the eye,” she said. “I just wanted to honor the day by doing something more than just flying a flag from my front porch. I wanted to create something that other people would enjoy when they saw it.”
What has since been dubbed the “Patriotic Mile,” is truly a half-mile stretch of Killian Farm Road that runs from its intersection with Sifford Road to Martha’s Chapel. DeLaPorte started with just 100 flags to her name, but donations started rolling in from those who enjoyed the display, and this year the road has been lined with 365 flags and 100 solar lights.
“In keeping with American Flag code protocol, flags are to be properly illuminated during hours of darkness,” she said. “It’s really quite something to see at twilight, and with hay bales in the background it’s a beautiful slice of Americana in Lincoln County.”
Volunteers have come out in force as the community has become familiar with the annual display, with teenagers and seniors working side-by-side to help plant the flags each year.
“I don’t know what I’m more proud of; the display or the volunteers who help make it possible,” DeLaPorte said. “It literally warms my heart to look at it all afterwards, thinking of these people who drilled the holes and planted the flags in 90-degree heat. I’m so proud of the work that they did because it was done simply out of love for their country.”