The firefighters who defiantly raised it from the rubble of the World Trade Center sent a clear signal: The star-spangled banner yet waves. In the days since Sept. 11, the American flag has become a beacon, energizing the nation with pride and hope as it is unfurled from store windows and car antennae, from back lawns and backpacks. "People want to show they are united," says David L. White, executive director of the National Flag Foundation. "One of the best ways to do that is with the United States flag, a symbol of freedom."
With supplies of Old Glory depleted as millions sought to buy the flag, some had to rely on...well, call it American ingenuity, to display their patriotism. Determined citizens grabbed house paints and face paints to conjure the spirit of the Stars and Stripes on their homes, their faces, their cars—even their pets. And everyone, bearer and beholder alike, seemed comforted by the sight. Now more than ever before, says Leslie Frank, co-founder of Project Solvers, a fashion recruitment firm, "the flag is the American security blanket." Here, then a look at the enterprising ways that citizens choose to honor their country—and help heal themselves.
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