American flags painted by 99-year-old Bay Shore vet gain worldwide attention
A World War II veteran in Suffolk County has turned his love for the American flag into a mission of honor.
MORE: Military Family Month
A love of his country inspired Gerald Goldman, of Bay Shore, to answer the call to duty during World War II.
As a 20-year-old Marine corporal, Goldman served as a machine gunner and radioman on a B-25 bomber in the South Pacific.
Nearly eight decades after leaving the battlefield, the 99-year-old retired Marine is still serving his country, this time with a brush and paint.
Goldman uses shades of red, white and blue to create a unique rendition of Old Glory out of wooden slats from old fences. He started 15 years ago, fashioning flags Betsy Ross-style with 13 stars.
Goldman's mission is to spread patriotism and honor the fallen one handmade banner at a time.
“I got the bright idea that, you know, I'm going to try to give these to everybody on the block, but I'm going to tell them I don't want you to keep it in the house— you've got to keep it outside where it can be seen,” he says.
Within weeks, Goldman's passion project turned Abrew Street into the most star-spangled block in his Bay Shore neighborhood. Nearly every one of the 44 homes there bear Goldman's flags.
“It's very special to me. I love my flag because he made it,” says neighbor Nancy Barratt.
People around the world heard about Goldman's rustic banners and requested to buy one of their own. Goldman's flags now hang outside homes in 14 states, as well as Germany, England and France.
Goldman's son, Arthur Goldman, isn't surprised at how his father's symbols of unity and freedom have captured the hearts of so many.
“His message is don't take it for granted, don't forget about it, it's there and that you can't let that idea slip away,” he says.
Goldman’s message is sealed with a signed postcard depicting his war service on the back of each one of his creations.
When Goldman isn't making flags, he loves spending time with his family, which includes 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.