The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Paul's American flag

Just days after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Paul Shoemaker's family traveled to New York City, heeding the appeal of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help revitalize the city. In the car, the jumbled images and emotions of that time coalesced into a plan when the 16-year-old saw a full-page U.S. flag in USA Today.

With a collection of old National Geographic magazines, a ruler and an X-Acto knife, Paul worked for a month to produce a 34-by-35-inch collage (shown above).

Paul put five stars in the upper left corner to represent the Pentagon as well as the five-star general, George C. Marshall, for whom his McLean, Va., high school is named. Other images include minarets and the pyramids of Gaza. Paul's favorite is a picture of Anne Frank. "I chose her because in her diaries she says no matter how evil people can come across, there can still be good in people," he says.

A member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, McLean, Paul's faith guided his selection of images. "As an American Christian, I believe that in order for our country to try to remain a stable power, it needs to accept differences," he says. "I believe we all need to love one another."


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February issue


Embracing diversity