Army veteran turns front lawn into American Flag for Fourth of July

BENICIA, Calif. — An Army veteran from California is gearing up for the Fourth of July in a big way, turning her front lawn into an American flag.

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Erin McKay-Schnell -- who served five years including a stint in Iraq -- returned to Benicia about 18 months ago, KGO-TV reported.

After two parades and a Fourth of July fireworks celebration were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKay-Schnell wanted to do something different to celebrate Independence Day.

“We haven’t been able to have any festivities for the Fourth this year or last yea,r and so I decided I would paint my front yard as an American flag with the help of my husband and some friends,” McKay-Schnell told the Times-Herald of Vallejo.

Her yard was the perfect size for an American flag, so McKay-Schnell used chalk spray paint to create a 32-foot by 19 1/2-foot version of Old Glory, the newspaper reported.

McKay-Schnell told KGO that it took about seven hours to complete the project. Her husband, Jonathan Schnell, two siblings and some friends pitched in.

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“We all worked on it equally and had specific jobs,” McKay-Schnell told the Times-Herald. “It definitely took a little longer than we thought. We thought it would be maybe a couple of hours.

“We also underestimated the amount of chalk.”

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The spray paint is the kind used on football fields and “it won’t kill the grass,” McKay-Schnell told the newspaper, adding that she hoped the flag “will last another couple of weeks.”

“We’re going to touch it up today so it looks great on July Fourth,” she said.

McKay-Schnell enlisted in the Army after graduating from Benicia High School in 2007, according to the Times-Herald.

“I wanted to serve my country and it was a few years after 911,” McKay-Schnell told the newspaper. “Part of it was also that I was that college was not something I wanted to do. I knew the Army would start me off on the right foot.”

That is why she wanted to put a large flag in her yard.

“We’re not doing fireworks, but we can still celebrate in our front yards and show some patriotism,” McKay-Schnell said. “I wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces.”