Cities around the nation will spend Wednesday celebrating Independence Day with parades, picnics, fireworks shows, and U.S. flags, but one North Texas community is drawing crowds to a handmade memorial that sits on a family's front lawn.
Tim Hall, who owns a sign company, came up with the idea to re-create an Iwo Jima Memorial using 12-gauge steel from his sign company, KDFW-TV reported. He enlisted his son, Clint Hall, and a couple of friends and they got to work.
"I was like, alright, let's do it," Clint Hall said of his dad's idea.
Tim Hall has dubbed the piece "Tribute re-creation." It was intended to help bring The Colony's community members together, but it's drawing people from miles away. The Colony is about 25 miles north of Dallas.
People who were once strangers are quickly becoming friends at the memorial dedicated to military service members and first responders — past and present.
“It is important to remember what other people do for you,” said Tim Hall, who never served in the military.
Many of the memorial's visitors are moved to share stories about their service.
"Just hearing the stories" of the veterans who've stopped by to catch a glimpse of the statue has impacted Tim Hall.
Others mark their visit with a photo and no one leaves without a hug from Tim Hall's wife, Julie.
“I’m just overwhelmed to see them all come out and to support this,” said Dion Burks, a U.S. Marine veteran.
And dozens of veterans and first responders have left their signatures on the memorial, which the Hall family plans to donate to local veteran's organization after the Fourth of July holiday.
"It's not about any one person. It's about everybody coming and playing their part and doing their role," Dion Burks, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, told KDFW. "And the world would be a much better place. "
What's the history behind the Iwo Jima memorial?
The Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, is dedicated to the honor and memory of the U.S. Marines who have died for their country since Nov. 10, 1775.
The U.S. Marines captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Iwo Jima is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean that sits about 660 miles south of Tokyo.
The iconic bronze statue depicts the Marines who climbed to the top of Mount Suribachi Feb. 23, 1945, to plant the American flag as a sign of successfully claiming the island.
After the war, sculptor Felix de Weldon was commisioned by Congress to create the sculpture based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
On Nov. 10, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the sculpture, which has become one of the most recognizable memorials in the world.