Kyle Ratner flags down international memories


To Kyle Ratner ’16, a flag is more than just a piece of cloth and dye; flags are representative of a country’s history, and Ratner’s flags are representative of his.

Ratner has flags from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, France, Italy, Mongolia, South Korea, Canada, United States, Philippines, England and McDonald’s. They all hang proudly on his bedroom wall, not leaving an inch left for paint.

“I didn’t choose random flags,” Ratner said. “They are all from places I’ve been to or places my friends live. They represent my experiences.”

Ratner said he first became interested in flags through an organization called CISV, an international peace organization. His cousin was a part of the Jacksonville, Florida chapter, and because of her love and interest for the program, Ratner decided to join when he was 13 and is now the official treasurer for the New York chapter.

Another aspect of this organization that Ratner found interesting was that it is entirely kid run and “it is amazing to see what kids can do,” Ratner said.

Ratner also mentioned that Holly Sulzycki, one of his past English teachers, went to Italy when she was 16 through CISV. Everywhere you go, you can find a connection through this organization. 

However, he was not always set on collecting flags. When Ratner first joined, he went to South Korea and needed to get rid of his old CISV logo wear which was too small for him, so he decided to trade them with the other Korean kids for flags, and so the collection began.

Over the years, his involvement in CISV and the expansion of his flag collection have influenced his future decisions.

“I’m really interested in international relations and I want to study that in college,” Ratner said. “It reminds me of that global perspective.”

Ratner admits that he has too many flags to bring to college, but he will most definitely bring the Mcdonald’s flag because it reminds him of “good times with friends and irreplaceable memories.”

This summer he will travel to Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France with all his friends at CISV.

Ratner doesn’t ever plan to stop his collection.

“It is my life,” he said.