As you drive three miles west on US Highway 54 from the small hamlet of Collins, Mo., the 1/8th mile driveway of Sue and Ken Molzahn is an awe-inspiring sight! Their gravel driveway has become a unique patriotic shrine honoring the souls of the men and women who fought and died under nearly 200 flags from the era of the American War of Independence.
"It started off on a whim," Sue said, "Ken was unpacking, after we were married in January 2018, and I came upon a box of flags. He explained he'd used them when he taught high school social studies on the Menominee Indian Reservation near his hometown of Green Bay, Wis.; and YES he is a Packers fan in Chiefs country." Sue laughed.
The couple quickly decided to display the 16 flags at their driveway entrance for the viewing pleasure of the busy traffic on US 54 on 25-foot flagpoles, and quite simply that would be the end of the story. “But Mother Nature had other ideas,” Ken chuckled, “A violent early summer storm, with straight-line winds of over 60 miles per hour, basically twisted and bent over half the poles. I was devastated, of course, but we quickly learned from the event.” The pair salvaged the undamaged flagpole sections and decided two flags per 25-foot pole would eternally be one cold-front or super cell thunderstorm away from the next disaster.
The story could have ended there. “Except my husband would stare, count and grumble at the empty t-posts each time we went down the driveway,” Sue chuckled. “I can tell the exact number of empty t-post-86." Ken spent the winter in hibernation researching. By spring 2019 he had 150 different colonial protest, American, French, Spanish and Native American flags made. They are militia, regimental, dragoon, artillery, fort, naval ensigns and 13-star US flag variations. The inclusion of tribal/sovereignty flags along our flagway are incorporated where historical records provide evidence of Native American participation at a specific battle or skirmish, and obviously are not included in our world record total for the displaying of the most replicas of original American Revolutionary War-era flags. Most citizens have no clue as to the number of tribes that fought alongside the patriots. Sue sewed or painted 10 flags that were not able to be made.
This winter Ken will be adding the British and Hessian flags captured during the war. With these additions the flagway will have @200 flags in the wind by April 2020. We invite all to come and see!