“Unite the country:” Olympic gold medalist joins ‘Flag for Hope’ project to spread American pride

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MILWAUKEE -- Lately, the news headlines have been filled with violence and anger. One Rhode Island man is trying to change that. He wants to fill the headlines with hope and patriotism. Don Goff started the "Flag for Hope" project, and he's brought along Milwaukee's Olympian, Dan Jansen.

Red, white and blue. Alone, they're individual colors. Together, they stand for freedom, power and hope. They're the colors of the American flag -- a symbol of strength and unity.

Dan Jansen

Dan Jansen

"We are a group that comes from a lot of different walks of life, but yet we all want to come together as one," said Bonnie Blair, Olympic gold medal skater.

"Today, there is so much violence out there. There's shootings and hatred and at the end of the day, we're all Americans. We're all on the same team -- so it's very important at this time to unite the country," said Director of Flag for Hope, Don Goff.

Dan Goff

Dan Goff

And that's how the Flag for Hope project was born.

Goff is traveling around the country with Milwaukee's own Dan Jansen to collect hand-prints on a large canvas and to unite the American people.

"There's so much going on in the world and America seems to be at odds. You've got the elections -- whether you're a Republican or Democrat or whatever, we're all Americans and that means something and it should mean something to each and every one of us," said Jansen.

Flag for Hope

Flag for Hope

When the Flag for Hope stopped in Milwaukee, Jansen honored five-time Olympic gold medalist, Bonnie Blair, with a star.

"I think just the idea of how many special people will be part of this and to know that I am part of that and to know that this is something that will last forever, and probably be in a museum and not only will my kids see it, but it can go on down the line -- so something that I'm proud to have been asked to take part in. But very proud to be part of it because I think it says a lot for our country," said Blair.

Blair adds her hand-print to a pretty strong list of American heroes: Muhammad Ali, John McCain and Sandra Day O'Connor, to name a few, have already left their imprint.

"It's a great feeling to be a part of it because it's about nothing except for American pride, nothing but trying to bring everyone together again," said Jansen.

Bonnie Blair

Bonnie Blair

"It's living life with an open hand at the end of the day, helping each other out. We can respect each other. Everyone is going to have differences no matter what political party, what religion you are. It's all about being on the same team and making a better America," said Goff.

"The Flag for Hope here is something that I think is a very unique piece of art that is going to be something to last forever," said Blair.

Bonnie Blair Flag for Hope

Bonnie Blair Flag for Hope

And for Blair, the red, white and blue mixes with a little gold to make this moment and honor even more special.

Flag for Hope

Flag for Hope

"I think having been an Olympian and having won a gold medal and standing on that podium and I see that flag raised, is something that's very special and very unique to me. I think a lot of times whenever I hear that National Anthem being played it has a different meaning maybe to me than to somebody else. This is something that for sure has special meaning to me," said Blair.

The Flag for Hope will continue to travel around the country. Its final stop will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

For information on how to be a part of this unique Flag for Hope project, CLICK HERE.