Object of the Day

Flag Demonstration

This photograph depicts a crowd surrounding two Panamanian flags.


Other community members were already bringing this up to us in their recently recorded oral histories.  What stories do you want to share with future generations about this significant event in Canal Zone history?

Where were you during this tumultuous time?  If you were of school age at the time, were your parents concerned?  What memories can you share with us about events surrounding this conflict?  What would you like others to know?

Please share with us in the comments section below!


  • Denise Lynch Sargent

    This photo might be associated with the riots. Anyone at BHS in the late 60s would know much more about this than I. It had something to do with Panamanian students wanting the Panamanian flag to fly at BHS, or to be flown side by side, or something like that. Panamanian students marched into the zone with their flag, I guess to replace the U.S. flag at the high school. They were stopped and riots ensued. I recall the Bank of America building in Panama city was burning at one point. I hope someone who was there can respond and flesh the story out as it really was a pretty big deal.

    • ufpcmcollection

      Thank you so much for your comment. We do have a fairly comprehensive historical account of the events surrounding this image. To enrich that information, we hope now to collect more personal memories, recollections, and experiences from those who were in Panama and the Canal Zone at that time. So we encourage everyone to please share their own personal stories!
      Thanks again,

      • Robert Dillon

        Judging by the bell-bottom pants, the clothes in general, the vehicles and other cues, I would say this photo is the the seventies and not the ’64 riots. If you look at the car’s wheel, in the lower left-hand corner of the pictures, it does not look like a ’64 and earlier wheel. It looks like a mid-to-upper 1970’s wheel. When did the Transito start using VW Beatles (middle-left) for their cars? I could be wrong….

      • Denise Sargent

        Well, then here’s my personal story: That week, maybe for several weeks, our bus to Curundu had to take the back route to school. This was memorable because it took us past an area of Panama City called “Hollywood” for some bizarre reason. “Hollywood” was a horrifically poor area, and seeing those impoverished people, many many of them, created for me its own explanation for what was happening. To my 13 year-old reasoning, the Panamanians wanted the Canal Zone because they were dealing with such devastating poverty, and the Canal Zone was such a beautiful wonderful place. Of course that was not the whole explanation, but driving past Hollywood while this was happening forever linked poverty with unrest in my mind—maybe the one true thing about war and unrest anywhere. I have never made the mistake of romanticizing poverty. There is nothing noble about it, and it does not create happy people who are satisfied with less. By the way, I’m a political junkie and have been my whole life. I know it’s because I grew up in a place that lived on a precarious political edge.

  • carlos

    the time 1964 the president was L B J 1964 Panamanian students wanting U.S and Panama flag fly together i was 12 years old . living in curundo , but was visiting my grandmother in panama in San Migel next to hollywood area Panama.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *