Posts Tagged ‘Tide’

Happy Birthday America 2012: Part 5, Our Stitch

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Happy Birthday America, Part 5

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
The Face of America Project
All Rights Reserved

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or college presidents, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in its common people.Sinclair Lewis

Taking Care of Our Stitch

Several weeks ago our friend, Paul Swenson, sent us information about Tide’s U.S Flag Tribute in honor of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The executives of the familiar Procter and Gamble product urged people all over America to answer the question: “What Does The Red, White and Blue Mean to You?”

The answers would be reviewed and more than one thousand of these tributes, comments, names and photos would be selected and "quilted" into a massive 80 foot by 160 foot U.S. flag design and put on display July 2nd and 3rd at Bryant Park, one block away from Times Square in New York City.

Paul’s company, Colonial Flag, was contracted to handle all of the details of this massive undertaking. Paul earned a sterling reputation for the work he and his employees did to place Healing Field flag displays all over the country during the years following September 11, 2001.  

Paul Swenson is a big man with a kind and loving heart of gold. Because we admire Paul and his work, Kitch and I posted this tribute to Emily Perez, the inspiration for our Face of America Project:

When we think of the Red, White & Blue, we think of 2d LT. Emily Perez.

Emily was a member of West Point’s “9/11 Class." She was the highest ranking Black/Hispanic graduate in the school’s history, and the first female officer from West Point to die in Iraq.

2d Lt. Emily Perez is a member of the New Greatest Generation and a radiant Face of America on its best day.

2d Lt. Emily Perez is what the Red, White & Blue is all about; courage, compassion, equality, freedom, justice, opportunity, service to country and service to others.

God Bless Emily, and God Bless America.

Almost three months flew by, and the week before the Tide Flag was to be presented, I wrote a note of encouragement to Paul:

Hi Paul:

I have been thinking about you and your big event in New York next week.

Please know that Kitch and I wish you the very best.

I may try to visit on July 3.

We are hosting our 10-year-old granddaughter, Julia, for Windsor Park Camp this week, and that involves quite a bit of driving.  If the body is able, I will get to New York to celebrate your great accomplishment.  If it is not, my spirit will celebrate it in our Angel Garden in Windsor Park. Here we celebrate the heroic deeds of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 every day of the year, and the inspiration for our Face ofAmerica project, Emily Perez.

Attached is a picture of Julia building an enclave garden in the Angel Garden next to the tribute to Emily Perez.

The picture of the woman with the Tide shirt is almost providential. In this Windsor Park Camp, we are trying to teach Julia, by example, the power of kindness and gratitude.

This woman works with Kitch as a volunteer at our local library.  Her husband and I are library board members. He made an unannounced visit to our home the day Julia and I were building the enclave garden. He was so taken by what he experienced; he and his wife bought Julia a surprise gift.  This act of kindness reinforced what we are trying to teach her.  It enabled us to stress the importance of saying thank you. 
To do this, we cut the most beautiful flower in our garden, and we went to their home unannounced, and Julia gave her the flower and a handwritten thank you note.

When the door opened and I saw the Tide shirt, I thought of you and your healing project.

Good luck and God’s speed dear friend.

On July 3d, shortly after 1 p.m., I received this note with a picture:

Your stitch my friends


I get a lump in my throat every time I read those four words. It is something we hoped for, but never expected to happen especially on this day when most of the news we received was negative.

I immediately wrote a note to Emily’s parents.  It was the best part of the process:

Dear Vicki & Daniel:

I just received word that our tribute to Emily was included in the huge American flag that answers the Question: “What Does the Red, White and Blue mean to you?”

The flag is being put in place today. It will be celebrated in a special way tomorrow in the park at 42d Street.

Kitch and I are humbled by this honor for Emily, and we wanted you to be the first to know.

Attached you will find two pictures of Emily’s Stitch on the flag.  They document this wonderful tribute to your beautiful daughter and our inspiration for our Face of America project and journey.

With admiration, respect and friendship,

Tony & Kitch

Emily’s mother responded with these beautiful words:

Dear Kitch and Tony,

Just returning from a church mission trip to Sierra Leone.  Trips like this reinforce our love and pride in being an American.

Thank you once again for keeping Emily’s memory alive.  Prayerfully, she will continue to be an inspiration to the New Generation.

Warmest Regards,

Vicki & Daniel

In case you are wondering what this has to do with America’s birthday and our face of America project, Paul Swenson provided the answer when he sent this note to us today:

I calculate that there is roughly one stitch for every American in this size of flag.  All connected in a common purpose regardless of position or color. The question I ask myself is how well am I taking care of my stitch?

Makes this saying all the more pertinent, "Your task to build a better world,” God said, I answered, “ How? The world is such a large vast place, so complicated now, and I so small and helpless am, there’s nothing I can do.” But God, in all His wisdom said, "Just build a better you".

Today Americans celebrate our national birthday with parades, fireworks, family reunions, and backyard barbeques.

Kitch and celebrated this day by exercising our right of free speech.

I have been writing about people, places and events that, in my opinion, speak to Americans at their very best, the higher angels as it were of caring, compassion, connection, courage, equality, freedom, justice, opportunity, service to country and service to others.

Kitch has been working in the garden, reading and editing these five articles and baking bread for one of the stands at the Back Mountain Memorial Library Auction.

In simple terms, we are taking care of our stitch. We are learning, growing and experiencing the blessings of liberty that make us free.

We are saying living prayers for our family, our friends and our country.

We are doing what we love to do in a country with limitless opportunities.

We are saying Happy Birthday America, while privately we pray these three words, God Bless America.

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