While many residents were sleeping in Sunday morning, Karen Skinner was staking 490 flags around the perimeter of theto commemorate Memorial Day.
"I had this idea and brought it to my ministry team for consideration for a couple of reasons. I was brought up in a very patriotic family in a very patriotic town, Fairfield, IA, and experienced Memorial Day services with my grandfather since I could ever remember," she said.
Her grandfather had been a commander of the Iowa state VFW and was a major influence in her life, she added.
"We had a town square that had flags surrounding the square to honor any soldier that had served Jefferson County," she said. "I think we are losing so many of our WWII men and women that I wanted to do a project that allowed us all to honor and thank them for their service along with all the other brave men and women that put their lives on hold to protect us."
This is the second year for the project, and she hopes it will become a tradition each Memorial Day.
"I think it will be the largest collection of flags displayed in Laguna Niguel this weekend. I have not ever seen anything to match it, and it would be fun for people to drive by or, better yet, come visit church," she said. "When I was a kid, anywhere I drove with my grandpa, he would do "flag drills and talk about bravery and what real heroes are ... not sports figures or actors ... he taught me flag do's and don'ts ... and I always fly a flag on my home and my grandchildren know never to fly a tattered flag."
Skinner says that on any given day, the church does a lot of outreach mission work for Camp Pendleton and assists young families through various projects throughout the year.
"This flag display to me represents every mother, wife, father, husband, child, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, friend that has had to watch their loved one leave to serve their country ... and it represents my core love for this country and our military and visually displays honor and love," she said. "It's for everyone that has been touched and those who need to be reminded of this great place and our freedom for worship is because of those people."