The Story of a Famous Painting
"Softly draped with folds unstirred by even so much as a breath of summer breeze. Old Glory, OUR FLAG, the flag of destiny, rests, waiting! It symbolizes the soul of America, standing in silent prayer before the Father of Light, receiving His guidance and protection through another perilous journey. It is the morning prayer of the American people, the prayer that arms them to the problems of the day with courage and cheer. Before it, America stands in reverence, realizing her sacred duty to mankind and her glorious destiny."
In 1940, when the world was in a turmoil, Fred Tripp of Beloit, Wisconsin, was 71 years of age. He looked out his hospital window at McCleary Hospital in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and was inspired by the flag flying atop the post office across the street. Mr. Tripp never in his life had a painting lesson, yet he produced a masterpiece, an inspiring, compelling expression on canvas of what he felt in his heart and soul about the Flag of his Country. He presented this six foot oil painting to the hospital.
Motivated by the spirit of patriotism that was sweeping the country in 1940, McCleary Memorial Hospital produced full color lithograph reproductions and presented one to each of their many former patients all over the United States. Its distribution had reached the 200,000 mark when World War II broke out.
With the outbreak of war, the demand for the picture increased beyond the Hospital's capacity to reproduce it so its distribution was turned over to a commercial enterprise. Since that time, it has become the most widely distributed flag picture in the United States, with copies hanging in many Washington congressional offices, the office of Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, as well as in homes all across the country.
The flag pole from which this inspirational flag once hung was moved to Crown Hill Cemetery and dedicated May 26, 1968.