Jacob Feazel wanted to “wow” his teacher with one of his final high school senior art projects, but little did he know that his rendition of Old Glory would also become a viral sensation. A photo of his U.S. flag made up of 4,466 Army toy soldiers has been shared on Facebook more than 300,000 times since February.
Jacob spray painted the green and gray plastic soldiers red, white and blue and individually glued them onto a 4-by-6 wooden platform to create the U.S. flag. The project took 56 hours over the course of 11 days and about 25 cans of spray paint.
“I was so happy with what I made,” said 18-year-old Jacob of Peru, Ind., who recently graduated from Maconaquah High School. “I thought, ‘Wow, I did this. That’s awesome.’ It makes me feel proud.”
Jacob’s art project was inspired by sculptor Dave Cole’s “Memorial Flag” piece, which features 18,000 toy soldiers melted and painted to reflect the U.S. flag. “I glued (the soldiers) so they are more visible,” Jacob said. “Putting each of the Army guys on there I thought about each of the guys (and) how they served. They make this flag what it is. They all mean something, so I wanted to make sure they were as perfect as they could be.”
Following its completion, Jacob’s flag was placed in a glass display case at Maconaquah High School for students, faculty and community members to see.
“When Jacob showed up (to the high school) with the American flag piece I was very impressed with the amount of time that I could tell had been put into the project,” said Josh Hancock, Maconaquah High School Art Department chair. “I was proud of him for thinking outside of the box and coming up with a creative way to display his patriotism through art.”
Jacob thought the Facebook photo of the flag, which was posted by his mom, Stacey, would garner a handful of likes. But within 24 hours of the posting, the photo’s social media attention grew to more than 84,000 shares.
The flag “is just touching everybody,” Stacey said. “I keep getting messages from people in the military and how much they loved it and appreciated (Jacob’s) patriotism. That made me feel all warm inside because that’s our son they are talking about.”
Stacey said people have asked to purchase the flag, but it’s not for sale as it’s going to travel throughout Indiana this summer to veteran parades and fundraisers, and then eventually make its way back to the high school.
A flag of this magnitude and uniqueness “hasn’t been done at my school before, which means I’m the first one there,” Jacob said. “It’s awesome. And showing patriotism and knowing that this made so many people happy … awesome is the best way to describe how it makes me feel.”