Tim Merrill has kept the same sign on his lawn for almost 17 years now.
It's been revamped with fresh coats of paint since then, but the marker on Merrill's front lawn has otherwise remained the same for anyone traveling down 15th Street Southeast in Mason City to see.
"God Bless America," the tri-colored top portion reads. "Never Forget 9/11/01," the bottom segment answers.
Merrill said that he never served in the military, nor did anyone in his immediate family, but that he considers himself patriotic just the same and that he still remembers the when, where and what of that Tuesday morning in 2001.
"I was working at that time for Principal. I was at my office and people were calling saying 'Did you hear about the tower?' And I went home that day because I don’t know if I was angry or upset or confused. It was a large amount of emotion and we were stuck to the TV watching it," Merrill said.
About a year later, Merrill was motivated by the emotions he still held on to to memorialize the attacks.
So he and his wife, Paige, painted the sign themselves and ordered the time stamp from D&D Printing Manufacturing in Mason City.
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"We just keep going and try to bring it back to life," Merrill said.
According to him, the sign has turned his house into a bit of a landmark on a busy street.
"We have had serviceman that have stopped, knocked on our door and told us thank you for having the sign out there. And that was touching for us," Merrill remembered.
Merrill, who said that he and his wife like to keep it "pretty red, white and blue" around the house, thinks it's important to keep his sign up because it can serve as a teaching tool.
"If you don’t know the history of the United States, if you don’t understand history, it’ll tend to repeat itself. And I think that that’s one of the things I would hope for our older generation to pass onto our younger generation."
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