“Capture the Flag”

‘Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism’

The flag is not powerful in spite of its ambiguity; it is powerful because of its ambiguity. It has stood, at different times, for radical democracy, opposition to immigration, the abolition of slavery, unregulated capitalism, segregation, integration, and a hawkish war policy, among many other things.

Read a selection from the introduction of “Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism” by Woden Teachout

A winter wind swept across New York Harbor on a late after noon the day after Christmas in 1971. Tourists riding the last two ferries from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty huddled against the bulkheads, sheltering themselves from the gusts. Among the passengers were clusters of long-haired adults in well used army-surplus clothing, looking for all the world like hippies taking in the world-famous landmark. The mission of these fifteen men, however, went far beyond tourism.

Immediately upon docking at the island, the men performed a quick reconnaissance. They wedged open a few doors and then took refuge from sight; some crouched behind the massive supporting columns in the base of the statue. Some found storage closets and tucked themselves away………………….Read Rest Here


Americans honor the flag with a fervor seen in few other countries: The Stars and Stripes are draped from steel flagpoles at many American homes and businesses; wave over sports events and funerals; and embellish everything from politicians’ lapels to the surface of the moon.

But what does the flag mean? In Capture the Flag, historian Woden Teachout reveals that it has held vastly different meanings over time. It has been claimed by both the right and left; by racists and revolutionaries; by immigrants and nativists. In tracing the political history of the flag from its origins in the American Revolution through the present day, Teachout demonstrates that the shifting symbolism of the flag reveals a broader shift in the definition of American patriotism.

A story of a nation in search of itself, Capture the Flag offers a probing account of the flag that has become America’s icon.

James Patterson, author of “Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy”

“Displaying a fine eye and narrative skill in recounting key episodes-among them the Revolution, nativist riots, the bombardment of Fort Sumter, civil rights activism, and the New York City hard hat riot of 1970-Woden Teachout reminds us of how important the American flag has been as a symbol for a wide variety of patriotic causes.”

Back in December 2006 I posted about this and than again in December 2008 a repost with some added material Distress: December 26th 1971 and December 26th 2008

In that one I started it out with some words and this repost part:

December 26, 1971

Two dozen members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War “liberated” the Statue of Liberty with a sit-in to protest resumed U.S. aerial bombings in Vietnam. They flew an inverted U.S. flag from the crown as a signal of distress.

We’ve now had many years of not one but two Invasions and Occupations better known as Wars of Choice, though soldiers and those occupied are still dying in one it has become a stagnant theater on a hair trigger, the other rapidly ramping up in deaths and destruction, both are and have been recruiting actions for what we now call ‘International Terrorism’, Criminal Terrorism that will rear it’s head, with no boundries, over and over for decades, as the number of those who will carry out these acts have greatly increased due to own terror forced on others!

Below is the ’06 post with little change, to remember that shoutout of Distress on it’s Anniversary, and as a call for Thought of what we now are facing. Still two occupations of others, this time those serving are doing so over and over and over………….., and to eight years of extremely failed policies and total incompetence as well as multiple corruptions and crimes, in and out of government, but also to the crimes against humanity this country has allowed and seems unwilling to face nor call accountability for!

If you visit this you will find the rest of the 2006 post as well as a few more clips with links and a bigger photo, of the one directly above, of the Distress Flag flying from the crown of the Statue.


    • Viet71 on June 1, 2009 at 01:39

    On December 26, 1971, I was in Bien Hoa.

    Hot, humid.  Enough to grow stuff on your skin or billfold.

    I agreed with the Statue of Liberty protestors.

    But when I came back, I was angry.

    Angry at Jane Fonda and all the other protesters.

    Angry at the government.

    Never has changed.

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