10,000 Flags Planted in D.C. to Urge Freedom From Oil
Veterans, union leaders, and environmentalists gathered on the National Mall on June 30 to urge President Obama to end America's dependence on oil.
What started as an online campaign to plant 50,000 "virtual flags" in front of the Washington Monument turned into a real-life flag-planting, as volunteers planted 10,000 American flags on the Mall spelling out FREEDOM FROM OIL.
"These flags represent tens of thousands of Americans who have watched the BP disaster in the Gulf and want to make sure it never happens again," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, below, at a press conference.
"We haven't even stopped the massive flow of oil from BP's gushing well yet, let alone respond to the damage it has wrought," Brune said, "yet the oil industry and many others want to keep drilling off our coasts. They claim it's the only way to boost the local economy and keep people employed. It's unconscionable that Big Oil and its allies would like to declare the region a dead zone in which the only jobs to be had are from more oil drilling."
Brune said America's addiction to foreign energy sources represents a dire security issue. "Our country must take serious steps toward freedom from oil by developing solutions that can end our oil addiction and make our nation more secure."
"The BP disaster a wake-up call," Brune said. "We can't return to business as usual and face another disaster like this. It's time to stand up to the oil industry, increase our transportation choices, and embrace clean energy solutions that will create good, lasting jobs while keeping our fresh air, drinking water, and oceans intact."
Also speaking were George Kohl, above, Senior Director of the Communications Workers of America, and Jon Powers, below, a former Army Captain and Iraq veteran, now Chief Operating Officer for the Truman National Security Project.
"It is a shame that we will let another Fourth of July pass us by without ending our unnecessary dependence on oil—a dependence that is funding the bullets that our enemies fire at our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," Powers said. "It is for that reason, and many more, that the fight for energy independence is being fought here at home—a struggle we hope more Americans will join in support of those who are fighting abroad."