A Crocheted Ode to America
Weather during the month of December in Osceola, Nebraska, can be unforgiving: temperatures can dip into the single digits with a biting wind-chill. It was on a night such as this that Valerie Legino left her meeting at the William Wolfe Post 91 American Legion Club and noticed something a little odd.
Hanging on the walls all around were flags for the different branches of service, with a small American flag on each end—but nowhere in the building could she see a large American flag. One of the legionnaires told her about a VA hospital he had recently visited. The hospital had a large, framed, crocheted American flag adorning the lobby. Val had been a crocheter for more years than she wanted to count. She suddenly remembered that a friend of hers had given her a pattern for a similar crocheted American flag. She went home, dug it out, and started her newly inspired project in earnest.
Val began with the stars. They were time-consuming because she had never crocheted a star shape before. She lamented at the idea of crocheting 50 of them. “Maybe you don’t need to do all 50,” I tried to reassure her. “Maybe just do like 20 or 30 and call it good.” She laughed at me, and said, “There is no way the guys at the Legion Hall would let me get away with that! The flag needs to have all 50 stars.”
So Val struggled through the first 25, but soon after found her stride and quickly finished the remaining 25. The body of the flag itself was no trouble. She did have issues with the border because it involved a stitch technique she had never tried before, but with the help of a diagram and a free video tutorial, she was well on her way to successful completion.
Mounting the flag presented a new set of problems. The piece of plywood the flag was mounted to was warped, and they did have to struggle to get it as straight as they could. Norman Hofbauer, a member of the club, made the frame from oak and Plexiglas. It took 3 people to mount the flag in its frame, which measures about 5.5 feet wide and 3.5 feet tall.
The beautiful wall hanging was revealed on Memorial Day, after the ceremony the Legion Club holds at the cemetery. The response from those who attended the unveiling was overwhelming. Val told me she didn’t do it for recognition. She did it because the Veterans are so very important to the small, tight-knit community of Osceola, Nebraska, and she wanted to honor them in her own unique way.
We hope your Independence Day is full of thoughtful celebration for this great country that we call home.