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One Man's Sign Of Patriotism



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One Man’s Sign Of Patriotism

By Kendra Bobowick

The Patriotic Spirit’s glossy pages slipped through Barbara Johann’s fingers as glanced at its many pictures that included the United States flag.

“My husband is a man of flags,” she said, turning to speak with the book’s author and Newtown resident Chris Seman Friday, July 20, during a book signing and discussion at the C.H. Booth Library.

“Well, then that’s what I’ll write,” Mr Seman said, soon opening Ms Johann’s copy of his book and addressing it to her husband Dick Johann. “This is a beautiful book,” she said.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995, Mr Seman traveled throughout the country over a seven-year period to capture residents displaying the flag in each state. Proceeds from the Patriotic Spirit will go to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and September 11 memorials. Learn more about his project at ThePatrioticSpirit.com.

Mr Seman had felt, “This was a good way to see the country and see patriotism in our states,” he said.

Sampling the wines and snacks on a nearby table, Marie and Gary Difilippantonio opened the book to page 11, where their grandchildren Marcella and Malena Giani were in a photograph from California. Mr Seman had gone to school with the Difilippantonio’s son Angelo Gianni, they explained.

Mr Seman told guests, “I have traveled to ten countries and all 50 states. I love to travel and meet new cultures and people.” He admitted, “Photography can be expensive, but what you capture through the lens is something you [have] for the rest of your life.”

Talking about The Patriotic Spirit specifically, he said, “I just wanted to give back to my country in the land we call freedom.” He said his trip through “all 50 states has brought me times of pleasure and times of near tragedy. I guess traveling over 56,000 miles you can endure some mishaps.”

He related a camping story from the everglades where he found himself “waist deep in water and muck, full of leaches and alligators because we got lost on our way back to our car.” He was also lost at sea on a two-person kayak for 15 hours, and had his tent surrounded by four wild boars all night in Texas.

Mr Seman also met “a lot of friendly people and saw the greatest country in the world.” He said, “I also was able to be part of other people’s lives by having them show their patriotism. I know I will not get back what I put into this project financially, but to be able to give back to the victims who lost their lives, that is all the reward I need.”

Mr Seman’s book “is not about me, but what it stands for: being able to give back to America.”

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