Photos Worth 1,000 Patriotic Words for Group

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2007 - Two nonprofit groups that support servicemembers are inviting amateur and professional photographers to look through their viewfinders with a patriotic eye for the 2007 "I Love America Day Photo Contest."

The organizations -- "Flags Across the Nation" and the "Military Family Network" - both are members of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the ways Americans and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.

Through its Community Connections Partnership program, of which Flags Across the Nation is a member, the Military Family Network supports the grassroots efforts of military-friendly organizations across the country, Peabody said. Flags Across the Nation is employing this partnership to help promote its photo contest.

"We're helping them promote it in (Hampton, Va.)," Peabody said. "We're having a huge ... push in combination with what we're doing with the Virginia Air and Space (Center) here throughout the month of March, which is free admission ... for all military families and veterans."

The organization will be displaying Flags Across the Nation artwork, as well as promoting this year's photo contest, she added.

Eileen Schwartz founded Flags Across the Nation with the goal of encouraging patriotism through the arts. She created "I Love America Day," first observed March 19, 2006, and later, the photo contest in celebration of that day, she said.

"I thought it was really important that we look at the really positive things about America and appreciate our freedom and really show respect for the American flag," she said. "There's no holiday at that time, and I wanted to bring recognition to the spirit of American and support for the troops."

This year marks the first photo contest, which coincides with Flags Across the Nation's second annual art contest of the same theme. So far the group has received about 100 photos for consideration.

"We wanted thousands," Schwartz said. "We just really, really encourage people to send us a photo."
Those who would like to enter the photo contest must submit via e-mail one unpublished photo that fits into one of five categories. The categories are: patriotism, liberty and freedom, military, Americana scenes of landscape culture, and images of the American flag.
All entries must be received no later than midnight Eastern Time on March 19. Thirteen entries will be selected to be included in a photo quilt that will become part of Flags Across the Nation's traveling exhibit, Schwartz said. Of those 13, three top photos will receive prizes.
"The top prize is $300 ... and every selected winner is going receive a 'Made in America' American flag," she said. "We picked 13 to honor the American flag and pay respect to the 13 original colonies and the 13 original states."

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