Dinner with a Curator: Flags and more Flags

On Tuesday May 24 was Dinner with a Curator at the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans. Kim Guise, Assistant Director for Curatorial Services, discussed the diverse collection of flags.

The museum has roughly 74 banners, 100 US flags, 70 Japanese flags, and 150 Nazi flags.


Service Flag

Service flags  have a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. If the service member died the family would fly a service flag with a gold star. The service flag is still in exist today.


Blood Chit

The blood chit flag was carried by aviators. The flag was either sewn in the inside of the flight jacket or the outside of the flight jacket. The blood chit also carried a message written in the language of the country the aviator was flying over. The message basically said that the aviator was an American and that if you helped him you would be rewarded. Guise said that a few Blood Chit flags were cashed in for the reward. I should have asked how was the flag cashed in?

IMG_9402The flag pictured, on the right, flew on a military vessel in the Pacific Theater. The damage to the flag was caused by it flying everyday in all different types of weather. As many times as I have walked the Road to Tokyo Exhibit, I never realized what caused the flag to be in this condition.

Iwo Jima

Guise talked about Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. She said the flag went viral within two days of its taking. President Roosevelt is credited with the idea of using this photograph for the 7th War Loan posters.

For the main course, I had the choice of either barbecue ribs or red fish. The ribs were marinated in Whisky for thirty-six hours. I usually do not eat ribs, but I was glad I picked the ribs over the red fish.

I enjoyed this installment of Dinner with the Curator. Now I will have to walk the Road to Tokyo Exhibit and the Road to Berlin Exhibit again and look at the flags from a different perspective, now that I have a little bit more of the story. This Dinner with the Curator is going to be hard to up since Guise had a video and an oral history to show us as well as flags for us to look at. The next Dinner with a Curator is June 21. Larry Decuers presents Voices From Midway.

A night at the Museum is not done until you take a photograph of the front of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

Boeing Center





The National WWII Museum’s collection contains hundreds of flags. Some of these are on display, including the flag that flew aboard the USS Bayfield during the invasion of Iwo Jima; the handmade American flag sewn by French teenagers in the summer of 1944 in preparation for the liberation of France; and the flag presented to the family of Murray M. Blum, a merchant seaman killed in the northeast Atlantic after jumping overboard to attempt to save another sailor. The Museum also has an extensive variety of Axis flags, captured and brought home by American forces. Join us for a special Dinner with a Curator as Assistant Director for Curatorial Services Kimberly Guise discusses this diverse collection.





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