Stars and Stripes
Cecily Burt, Staff Writer
Five Miles of Flags to Mark September 11
to unfurl silk-screened Stars and Stripes banners in homage to victims
as the first anniversary of September 11 draws near, people around
the world will have an array of emotions -- trepidation, fear, sadness,
anger, hope. Some may want to be alone, others may want to share
Pop Zhao, a celebrated Chinese-American artist who holds the record
for creating the longest artwork in the world -- the 10,000-meter
Olympic Dragon unfurled on the Great Wall of China on June 23, 2001
-- the anniversary is an opportunity for a large-scale performance
art event to bring diverse communities together to remember the
victims. Zhao has created silk-screened banners of 3,200 American
flags as a celebration of life and tribute to the victims and survivors
of September 11. When unfurled and lined up, the 23 sections will
stretch five miles. The flags highlight the spirit of America, its
freedom, values and beliefs; five different background colors signify
the diverse communities in the United States, which gather strength
from unity, he said.
Expression of Solidarity
"As an artist, it is my responsibility to create an artwork
that brings people of different communities together to express
our feeling of solidarity with the nation and the world," Zhao
said. "Sept. 11 was a tragedy not only for one country. ...
The impact is to the whole world and all the human beings living
on this planet," he said.
"There was death and difficulties, but we have hope, and we
need to celebrate life. We think life is forever, but after a tragedy
we see life is fragile. We have to treasure it and enjoy it."Event
at Golden Gate Bridge Zhao said he chose to hold the event at the
Golden Gate Bridge as a tribute from the West Coast to the East
Coast. Many volunteers will unfurl the flags following a ceremony
at the toll plaza at 9:05 a.m. on September 8.
The route will follow the San Francisco coast with one section being
unfurled at Crissy Field and the other at Baker Beach. The effect
will be like flower petals opening outward from the Golden Gate
Bridge, Zhao said. "The flag will be constantly moving in waves,
like the Pacific Ocean waves," he said.
The City of Oakland is one of Zhao's sponsors. Zhao is seeking volunteers
to help hold the banners from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
To volunteer or obtain more information, send e-mail to email@example.com
, call (415) 664-2348, or just show up at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday at
either Baker Beach or Crissy Field.