Local veteran’s collection boasts all 27 American Flags

William Wardlaw reads from a sheet detailing the reasons for each ceremonial fold of the American Flag. Wardlaw has collected all 27 flags flown by the United States in our nation's history.

William Wardlaw loves his country, as evident by his one-of-a-kind collection.

The 90-year-old served his country in World War II and now fights a different battle against throat cancer. He and his wife, Frances, have been married for almost 30 years.

William Wardlaw shows off his Betsy Ross Flag, the first in our nation’s history. Wardlaw’s flags are held by a wooden piece, carved by Wardlaw’s son William B. Wardlaw Jr.

It wasn’t too long ago when the proud veteran, whose home is also covered in timeless and countless Coca-Cola memorabilia, began collecting the most patriotic of all items, American Flags.

Wardlaw can tell you right off the top of his head how many flags – 27 – the United States has had in its history, because he owns them all.

His collection begins with the Betsy Ross Flag, transitioning to the 13-star flag and concludes with the current version.
He still remembers the day his obsession with the Stars and Stripes began.

“Some years ago, I happened to be at a Goodwill store,” Wardlaw said. “It had most of the flags in it, but there were a few missing. It came from an American Legion Hall up in Massachusetts.”

Unsatisfied with his incomplete collection, Wardlaw set out, with the help of some friends and the internet, to find the rest of the flags.

Recently, he completed his search and is now in possession of all 27 flags.

The flags are miniature versions of each flag and show the changes throughout history as more stars and changes were added.
Wardlaw was born in Sibley and grew up in Webster Parish before joining the Navy.

When he finished his service he came back to Minden and worked at a dairy and laid sheet metal before moving to Alexandria to work for Easton Airlines. Wardlaw eventually made his way back home where he went to work at the LA Army Ammunition Plant.

Amongst the items in Wardlaw’s possession are a history of the American Flag pamphlet, a sheet detailing the reason for each fold of the flag and a citizenship test. Among all his possessions, however, his flags stand out the most.

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