Ironton boy uses concrete as canvas for patriotism

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2003

With a concrete canvas and a box of chalk, 7-year-old Skyler Cunningham uses an artist's approach to express his patriotism.

Knowing how to spell America was all he needed to get started.

Skyler, a first-grade student at Whitwell Elementary, was with his great aunt, Debbie Runyon, on his way home from school one day when curiosity

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hit him.

As he looked out his aunt's car window, he noticed yellow ribbons displayed all across Ironton. Skyler asked what they meant.

"They are to remember our soldiers who are fighting to protect us," she said.

That was a good enough explanation for Tyler.

When Tyler arrived at Runyon's home that afternoon, he went straight for the sidewalk chalk, then went outside and began his small masterpiece.

"First, I thought I could draw the American flag, but then I added the army men," Skyler said. "I just thought since it was the American Flag that the soldiers would go well with it because I know they are going to save our country."

As Runyon left for work the following morning, she noticed Tyler's artwork drawn on the sidewalk in front of her Ironton home.

"All I knew was, he walked in the house, asked me how to spell America and then headed outside," she said. "It wasn't until the next morning that I noticed it. I was surprised. He's always liked drawing, but I didn't expect this."

Skyler's great-grandmother agrees.

"He has always enjoyed it. I still have one he drew for me after Sept. 11, (2001)," Thompson said. "I keep it framed in the house."

Skyler's mother, Lori, was impressed with his artwork and his maturity.

"I am very proud of him for taking the initiative to do something like this to support his country."