At 2448 Cardinal Drive in the Benjamin Hills neighborhood, flags whip in the wind.
Eight feet tall, the flags command respect, and passers-by stare at the display of patriotism. Some flags are obvious variations on the official American flag; others seem foreign or old-fashioned.
All 70 flags on display represent the history of the United States, as well as one mans patriotism.
David Martin says he has been displaying historical flags of the U.S. for decades. Hes not sure when the hobby started or what initially drew his interest, but he feels compelled to continue the display to promote patriotism and honor the memory of those who came before us.
Our flag is what we make of it, Martin said, before quoting Woodrow Wilsons Flag Day speech in 1917, It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation.
Those are not my words, but essentially true, Martin said. The entire totality of our history is bound up in our flag.
On patriotic holidays such as today, Martin spends about an hour each day unfurling the flags and placing them in rows on his lawn. And each night, he takes them down.
Martin said he and his wife moved from the College Hill neighborhood several years ago to a corner lot in Benjamin Hills in west Wichita partly to better display the collection. He said he gets his flags from online stores and has even made some.
Besides displaying the flags in the front yard, Martin also shows them to different groups and organizations, such as schools, libraries and neighborhood organizations.
The flags are arranged in chronological order from the oldest flags to fly over American soil to todays official flag. Each pole is numbered and labeled with the name of the flag and year or years it was used.
Every flag tells a story about the U.S. and the people who carried them, Martin said.
The first flag, in the front of the house, is the royal standard of Spain. Next are the personal flag of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and the flag of France.
Until 1737, flags that flew over the U.S. were of exploration and discovery, Martin said. That changed with the Bedford Flag.
Used by the Bedford, Mass., militia, the flag depicts a mailed arm holding a sword emerging from a cloud on a red background. A ribbon with the words Vince Aut Morire (Conquer or Die) surrounds the arm.
This flag is thought to have been carried by Minutemen into the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Concord, Mass., in 1775.
It wasnt American in design, but American in its uses, Martin said.
The Bedford flag and several others dont seem related to the present American flag at all. Some feature rattlesnakes, a popular motif during the Revolutionary War, and others include the Union Jack.
Two flags have had a greater influence than others on the design of the first official U.S. flag.
One flag, the Sons of Liberty Banner, features 13 red and white horizontal stripes and was used during the Boston Tea Party.
The other flag, used by the Rhode Island Regiment, is white with a blue anchor and a banner with the word hope. It also features a blue field with 13 gold stars in the upper left corner.
Martin encourages visitors to wander through the flags. He keeps two binders with information on the flags for visitors to learn more.
Although he already has 70 flags, Martin said his collection is far from complete, and he intends to add more.
Theres no such thing as a complete list of American flags; it just doesnt exist, Martin said.
Martin plans to continue displaying the flags until he is no longer physically able. Then, hed like to donate the flags to a group that would continue to display them.
They are a community asset, Martin said. I consider myself to be more of a curator for the collection.