The Pole in My Pretty Passport

After July 2007, all newly-issued regular U.S. passports bore the same new design. (See here.) I had no idea about this; I'd gotten my passport a few years before in order to go to Japan in the summer of 2005.

Just yesterday though I got my new renewed passport in the mail, and on looking through its pages, I was shocked at what I found.


Yes, two of the pages in this 30-page national document are devoted to Alaska.

What's more, I know that totem pole. I recognized it the moment I saw it as the Chief Kyan pole, in Whale Park, in my own little town of Ketchikan!

It feels really special for an icon in the small corner of the country I call home to be selected for a document every travelling American must have. I must have seen Chief Kyan most every day I went to work last summer, and like other poles in Southeast Alaska, I know the design about as well as you might know famous European paintings.

While the NYT article I linked to above may include some criticisms of the passport design, I think it's absolutely gorgeous. The images and quotes are appropriate symbols of patriotism for all Americans, and I couldn't be more pleased that one page pays tribute to the unique and wonderful culture of my own distant home.

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