Flag Exchange at Federal Hall

The American  flag is a strong symbol of American identity and national pride, it is  a symbol of the patriotic heart of the country.  The American flag offers a perfect mirror for all of us. For citizens and others alike, it is the shining beacon of hope and resilience of the United States.  On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation".

Historical American Flags (image from Wikipedia)
Between 1777 and 1960 Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. There are now  13 horizontal stripes on the flag - seven red and  six white, representing thirteen Colonies. 50 stars represent the 50 states of the Union.


 There are 50 distressed American flags, hanging from the domed ceiling of New York’s Federal Hall on Wall Street. Federal Hall was built in 1842, on the site of the U.S's first capitol building under the Constitution, the exact spot where, in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated.


These flags were collected   by the  artist Mel Ziegler, Professor of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University,  Nashville,    from each state between 2011 and 2016.   Ziegler journeyed through all 50 states and replaced distressed American flags flying at civic and private locations — city halls, post offices, hospitals, homes, and schools — with new flags.

 Ziegler came across his first flag near Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives. “It was hanging from a barn and had been there so long that the white stripes had rotted away and only the red ones remained,” he says. “I thought it was amazing, the way it looked, and then I couldn’t help myself. I just started noticing ragged flags everywhere.” (...)