As borders closed during Covid-19, my usual yearning for travel was replaced by a newfound appreciation for exploring local communities in Central Ohio, the place I’ve called home since immigrating to the United States 20 years ago. I noticed freshly hung American flags everywhere ahead of the 2020 presidential election, and they became a prominent facet of my photographic journey through which I reflected on what patriotism means to me. Flourishing with revitalized fervor during the pre-election months and during Trump’s presidency, the nation’s greatest symbol became a partisan statement. The politicization of the flag often meant that people on one side of the political chasm displayed it proudly, while others took it down fearing any association with Trump and his allies. This photo series seeks to reclaim the American flag as a representation of unity in a country where people from all walks of life can live freely. The stars and stripes will carry more power when backed by actions, humility, and love for one another, instead of adherence to any politicians’ ideology.

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