Local man honors those who serve with remarkable artwork

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The stripes are cut from staves. The stars are shaped with a chisel and hammer.

Memorial Day is a day that America focuses on remembering the men and women who have given their lives to selflessly fight for our freedom. It's a day the Stars and Stripes waves more powerfully in the wind. At military cemeteries, a flag on each grave represents a life lost so Americans can be better protected.

The symbol of freedom is so powerful it has driven a local man to recreate the American flag's colorful cloth into an even more remarkable work of art.

"People have to understand what the flag means to the people who are protecting it," said Heath Triggs, owner of The Heritage Flag Company.

Sacrifices on the battlefield, families torn apart by war, the stories of courage, heartbreak, and the fighting that continues today inspired Triggs to create incredible flags carved from wood.

"These flags are 100 percent made by hand, and it's a labor of love," Triggs said.

A lot of heart and thought go into each unique flag crafted out of barrel staves.

"It is a way to say thank you to them, to their families, to their kids, to their teams that support," Triggs explained. "It's just an unbelievable way to say thank you."

What started as a gift has now launched into The Heritage Flag Company, a small business with big ideas that are created inside a Southern Pines workshop.

The stripes are cut from the barrel staves, and then the stars are shaped with a chisel and hammer.

"I have never done anything more rewarding than what I am doing right now," Triggs said.

And some flags, like the "Defender Flag", have an extra special touch, Triggs explained.

"It is a symbol of the U.S.A. moving forward on the battlefield."

Another special flag is the "Gold Star Flag", where a single gold star represents a family member that died or was killed during service.

"We would literally cut out one star on the flag, and we would gild it with 22 karat gold, and if you've served out of the country, you don't have to ask what a gold star means," said Triggs.

Two of these flags were presented to the Pentagon, and one now hangs in the main entrance. Another is in the hands of a two-star Air Force general.

Other flags have been presented to wounded warriors as a part of Operation Coming Home, and many have gone on incredible journeys just like the soldiers receiving them.

"It's hard to explain what people go through to protect the flag," Triggs said, choking up as he spoke.

Now, The Heritage Flag Company is on its own journey, creating limited edition flags that celebrate our independence.

"We came up with something we named 'Old Glory Heritage Flag,' where we have made a flag that is half out of whiskey barrels and half made out of red wine barrels, and we are going to be releasing this as a tribute to our Independence Day."

It's just another symbol and special tribute to those who protect and serve.

"The biggest thing I want to do is make sure that people know that the guys that fight to protect that, it is unbelievable what it means to them, and I want every single person in the country to know that," Triggs said.

The Heritage Flag Company has plans to create a new special edition flag each year that will be released one month before Independence Day.

To learn more of the flags, visit the company's website by clicking here: The Heritage Flag Company.

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