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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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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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