SAN ANTONIO – A giant flag woven from the uniforms of 140 servicemembers is on display at the San Antonio International Airport.
The “Freedom’s Threads” installation created by artist Jeffrey Stenbom represents all six branches of the military with pieces of material from 140 different uniforms worn in conflicts all the way back to World War I.
“When I’m taking those worn uniforms and weaving a flag with those uniforms that were worn by those members who have bled, sweat and cried while wearing those uniforms is such a powerful thing,” Stenbom said in a video about the project created by USAA.
Stenbom weaved the 25-foot by 12-foot American flag for USAA’s 100-year anniversary celebration. It took him more than 1,000 hours to complete it.
Most of the uniforms were donated by USAA employees, a few of the pieces came from Stenbom’s grandfathers and he used one of his own uniforms for the project.
The Army veteran who served in Iraq turned to art after his service to help with challenges from PTSD, according to USAA officials.
“That flag is the symbol of our country. What protects the freedoms that we have are from those service members, and that should not be forgotten,” Stenbom said.
His work will be on loan for display in the lobby of Terminal B through January 2023 as part of the Galleries @ SAT through the city’s Aviation Department’s Arts and Culture program.
Next year, it will be transferred back to USAA headquarters for permanent display.