Our Reluctant Flag

The drooping Apollo 12 flag

Painting Completed 1983
18 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

This painting brings back a poignant moment from our visit to the Ocean of Storms in November of 1969. I had just hammered the lower section of the flagpole into the lunar dirt as Pete Conrad began to unfold our flag and ready it for insertion into the lower section. As Pete lifted the metal rod that holds the flag straight out in the airless, windless environment of the Moon, he discovered the locking pin that holds the metal rod out would not lock in place. Pete worked with the rod and pole but he couldn't find a way to make the locking pin work. Without it there was no way the flag would remain extended.

We finally put the upper section of the flagpole in the lower one and Pete held our flag out with his hand for a few seconds. It was a proud moment, but a reluctant flag.

Our flag will hang as one would on Earth on a calm day for the next million years or so, unless NASA sends Pete and me back to install a replacement locking pin.