Monday, May 28, 2007

a real tribute

What does it take to bring a community together? How do you unite two sides of a debate when the sides are so laden with emotion, purpose, and politics? It's striking how the simple act of creation has the power to calm the spirit and bring to the surface what's really important and pay tribute in a very real and sincere way.

Col and I were driving home from the Cape today, very much removed from the community and the world at large. We were thrilled to finally get back into Vermont so we could turn on VPR and hear All Things Considered. It was a reality check, in more ways than one. Radio news always is. But I was particularly moved by a short piece in the Vermont edition about hand-painted American flags, which volunteers in Newfane are creating for an exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. The art project was started as means to bring people together as a community. They're painting one flag for every U.S. service person who has died in the War in Iraq. So far, they've painted--by hand--2,801 flags. They need 3,404.

"And then you step back and take a break and whoa! It's so colorful and visible from a lot of different directions."

Some of the flags have four red stripes, some five. And the stars are definitely individualistic. Just like the people who made them and the lives they represent.

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