On July forth 2002 I observed and documented in photographs a celebration of the holiday in Erie Pennsylvania. One common thread that was carried through from 9/11 was the display of the US flag. After 9/11 the country, including myself, were more than happy to display the stars and strips to symbolize the pride we had for our country. Unknown to me at the time was that I not only was documenting the ceremonial flag waving but had capture the real American, eating funnel cake and waving flags.

Flash forward to January 2003 when I participated in and documented an anti-war protest in Pittsburgh. The Patriot Act an insult to the constitution is in place bringing about the loss of our civil liberties and president Bush has been given the power to throw the country into a war in Iraq claiming that it had direct involvement in 9/11. The United Nations has given disapproval of a war in Iraq but the president goes on with his war efforts anyway claiming that Sadam Hussien has WMD’s and needs to be removed from power because he is a terrorist threat to us.

No funnel cake just freezing temperatures and a snowstorm. The same people who were flag waving just a year ago including children, (mine included) and grandmothers are passing a message to the president that they disagree with the war. Hundreds of thousands of people protest the war on a global scale. So why are we there now? The message the president sends out to the people is that we have to support our troops in this war or we are being unpatriotic. My observation of this event now brings up the question of patriotism. What is patriotism anyway? Where I stand the war is an unwanted war and we have less safety from terrorism than we had before 9/11. I feel more fear, not just from the terrorist but also from my own government.

Another year passes and the president claims all is well. Operation Iraqi Freedom is a success. The Iraqi people are free from the oppressive regime of Sadam Hussien but no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. This was no surprise to anyone, certainly not the anti-war protestors in March of 2004. At this time hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi’s have died. The war continues, the presidential race is on and thousands of protestors rally again against the war. Once again I documented the event in photograhs.