Following the Sept. 11 attack, the Highpointers Club has launched the “50 Flags Over America” project. Highpointers from around the country carried the American flag to the highest geographical point in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, to show our support for the American way of life, and to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01.
Jean Trousdale’s daughter Betsey, who then lived in Brooklyn, watched the World Trade Center collapse from her midtown office. This was part of the inspiration for Jean to coordinate the Club’s “Fifty Flags Over America” to fly flags from the highest points of each state prompting “Thank You”s from the like of New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani and President George Bush.
Here is a small sample of photos submitted to the project. Several people/groups also submitted scrapbook pages.
Roger Johnson created his “Welcome to America” website where you can see him atop the highpoints with the American flag.
Our poster is now a reality and it is all that we had hoped for and more. We think you will agree that it is stunning! It features an outline map of the United States with the location and names of the state highpoints. On top of this map are photographs of Highpointers Club members displaying the American flag atop each of the 50 state highpoints. Appropriate wording commemorates the American way of life and the first anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01.
On August 30, 2002, this poster was distributed to various dignitaries, and to the fifty owners/managers of the state highpoints. A cover letter was included to express our Club’s support. On September 11, 2002, the Fifty Flags Poster was displayed at Ground Zero in New York City.
Here is an excerpt of an interview with Jean Trousdale who coordinated the “Fifty Flags Over America” project:
How did you get involved in the Fifty Flags Project?
When John Mitchler was first casting about for someone to help out, I was intrigued. I wrote at once that I wanted on board. Members sent me pictures for months–then finally I had to choose the ones for the poster. Now THAT was very hard work. We had so many great photos, it was really tough to decide. I tried to make the pictures as varied and representative as I could, and there were times Dave and John had to help me choose. It is because we got so many good pictures that I decided to make the scrapbook/photo albums that contain all the pictures that were submitted, something over 200. I think the albums are great, too, and I will always take them to the conventions.
Did having your daughter Betsy watch the World Trade Center collapse affect the decision to pursue this project?
Yes, I think so. I was in constant touch with her that day and everyday for several weeks after 9/11. I visited New York in early October, and for both these reasons, I was acutely aware of the impact on New Yorkers. Of course, 9/11 impacted all Americans; because of the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, 9/11 was a re-traumatization for a lot of people in this state. I worked closely with the de-briefing process in Oklahoma in 1995, and again in 2001, and there was a special awareness, I think, of 9/11 in Oklahoma.
What was involved in coordinating the project?
MUCH time. John and Dave and I were on the phone or e-mailing almost daily as we worked on it. I also did a lot of e-mailing with folks who had submitted pictures, to be sure we had accurate names, places and dates. We had to decide to whom to send the posters–we sent a total of 13 posters to national dignitaries most closely associated with 9/11. Then, of course, there was the poster you hung at Ground Zero. When we finished, Mary Maurer and Diane Winger took over and got addresses and letters together and got posters sent to all of the highpoint owners.
What was the most rewarding thing about the project?
I am very proud of the work we did on the 50 Flags poster, not only because it turned out so beautifully, but also because of the great tribute it pays to our country.
What was the least rewarding?
Having to choose the pictures. I am just now tackling the job of writing thank you notes to everyone who submitted pictures–I know I’ve put it off because it is hard to write to folks whose pictures weren’t chosen. But they are ALL in the albums.