Archive for the 'americans' Category

The End


One year ago, I embarked on a mission. In order to document and call attention to the prevalence of patriotic imagery on the American landscape; I decided to photograph one new use of the flag, everyday, for one year. Now, 366 (I bet you forgot it was a leap year) flags later I am finished. The point has been made; in 2008 flag imagery is everywhere. It is common to see a person in a flag t-shirt or see the flag image decorating a mailbox or used on the packaging for cigarettes or any product you can think of.

All the uses I have photographed are blatantly against the U.S. Flag code (click here to check it out, great site)  yet it is considered acceptable and even patriotic to stick a plastic flag in your yard or don a flag shirt. However, some uses of the flag will get you arrested like hanging it upside down to protest the war in Iraq. And burning the flag is out of the question. Why does burning the flag incite people to violence while using it on a disposible garbage bag does not? Both are against the flag code.

To me the over usage feels like propaganda. It seeps in through your skin when you are not paying attention, subliminally creating a sense of nationalism.

Thanks for coming along on my journey! It has been an interesting year!


FLAG A DAY is going to be included in a show, sponsored by CREATIVE TIME that promises to be really exciting. DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN will be at the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park avenue between 66th and 67th streets) in NYC from Sept. 21 – 27.


Shop Vac Terrorist

Spring has been beautiful here in Norfolk. The air has been cool and crisp and flowering trees and bushes abound. We thought we would take advantage of the fresh air and started opening the windows on the rental house we are living in but they are old and the caulk holding in the glass panes is chipping out like crazy. Mark decided to rent a shop vac to clean it all out and went to the local B&H tool rental to get one.

He came back a couple of hours later having bought a new shop vac. The sales person at B&H Rental told him they could not rent to him without a valid Virginia driver’s license. Being a resident of New Jersey with a valid New Jersey driver’s license was not good enough. The clerk went on to explain that since 9/11 and all the threats of terrorism they would not rent equipment without a Virginia license. 



Upside Down


The Desmoines Register

Lately I have noticed a lot of stories in the news about people flying the US flag upside down to protest the war in Iraq. There is Terri Jones who was flying the flag the whole time her son, army reservist Jason Cooper was fighting in Iraq but after he came home, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and committed suicide she turned her flag upside down. A few months later someone came over, when she was gone, and turned her flag right side up and about a week after that she received an anonymous note.

“I’ve noticed for quite some time now that you fly your American flag upside down . . .. Please don’t disrespect those who have fought and died on our soil preserving your very freedom and mine. . . . Let’s rally behind our troops and if they don’t believe in what they’re doing, let them voice it. Every single person in the armed forces today signed on the dotted line. . . . I know your flag is sending out a message that you might not have though it was sending. So I felt compelled to tell you what I thought.”
It was signed, “An extremely sincere fellow American citizen and proud of it.”
And in the P.S., the person added: “If it truly is that you hate living in this country and are ashamed of our freedom, then by all means, sir, why do you live here?”

Then there is Corydon Iowa farmer Dale Klyn who had been flying the flag right side up for 6 years before he turned it upside down, partly to show solidarity for Terri Jones, and was arrested for disorderly conduct. Not only was he arrested but it seems most of his small farming community has turned against him. The local Case equipment dealer told him, “I’ve lost all respect for you. I’ll buy you a one-way ticket anywhere you want to go out of the country,” Klyn recalls.

He faces death threats from a forum on a Marine vets’ website,, which calls itself the “Marine Corps Community for USMC Veterans. That forum contained the following remarks from four different Marines:

“Any scout snipers live in Corydon, Iowa???”
“Corn hole ’m.”
“Fly him under it upside down.”
“If the flag is flying upside down, it means he is in trouble, right? I think we Marines should show up and get him ‘out’ of trouble.”

What I continue to find disturbing is the proliferation of flag imagery, on advertising, chatchkees made in China, inexpensive lawn ornaments, etc, items and uses that are explicitly against the US flag code, and no one seems to care while flying the flag upside down brings death threats. We wouldn’t have a country if our forefathers did not question the ruling government. When did it become unpatriotic to stand up for what you believe in and voice your opinion and why are tacky China made chatchkees considered patriotic?

Truck Memorial

A while back I was photographing a flag decal in the back window of a truck (Flag a Day, August 24) when the man who owned the truck returned and was curious about what I was doing. So after explaining my project to him I, also being curious, asked him why he had an American flag in the back of his truck. He said that his stepmother Lynette Vosges had been killed in the World Trade Center on September 11 and as a way of memorializing her and stating that he still believed in America he decided to mount the flag in his truck.

Extra Sticker

I wonder what the average person displaying the American flag thinks, or doesn’t think, about their use of the flag. The woman with the flag sticker on her cooler at a soccer game (Flag A Day, August 29) couldn’t figure out what I was taking a picture of. When I told her it was the flag sticker on her cooler she laughed and said “oh, that sticker came on something else so instead of throwing it away I just stuck it on the cooler,” an act of patriotism or just an extra flag sticker, probably made in China, with no particular place to go.

Fourth Largest

Ever wonder where the fourth largest Fourth of July parade is held? I met a retired couple (Flag A Day, September 2, 2007) at the Empire Diner in NYC who proudly announced to me that they lived in Arlington, Texas home of the fourth largest Fourth of July parade in the US. I wonder where the largest Fourth of July parade is?