Mark W. Stone, Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Department of Defense, Artist

Patriotism evokes an array of feelings and ideas. For Mark Stone, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army, the sentiment is profound. 

“My personal experiences within the military have changed how I view patriotism from something symbolic to more emotionally visceral with a deeper connection to veterans,” he says.

Some memorable points in his long career include serving as an infantry platoon leader during the Gulf War in 1990 and serving during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Although he was out of the country, Mark felt the pain of 9/11 acutely.

“On 9/11, I was in Cairo, Egypt, climbing the Giza Pyramid to get my picture taken. Shortly afterward, I was notified about the attack and a friend that was killed in the Pentagon attack.”

A life spent serving his country has inspired Mark to express his patriotism in a way that allows him to utilize his creative talents.

“I’ve always had an interest in the visual arts from a young age and studied design during college,” he explains. “After retirement from the Army, I found time to pursue a creative output in woodworking … it was very therapeutic.” 

He handcrafts each wooden American flag from three types of wood which represent the stars, blue canton and stripes.

“Curly maple, walnut and paduak, respectively, represent these symbols. No dyes or stains are used, and you only see the natural color of each species of wood under the high-gloss finish.

“My hope is when a person glances at a wooden American flag that hangs on the walls of homes or offices, they momentarily pause and reflect the great sacrifices made from individuals from all walks of life within America and the continued unyielding pursuit to make this nation great for all people. … Making these wooden American flags is my totem.”

Mark’s patriotic art can be purchased by contacting him at woodstarsandstripes@gmail.com.