Why was that nice gentle boy putting flowers inside the barrels of M-16 semi automatic weapons?? Flower Power is an historic photograph taken by American photographer Bernie Boston for the now-defunct Washington Star newspaper. It was nominated for the 1967 Pulitzer Prize. Taken on October 21, 1967, during a march to the Pentagon, the iconic photo shows a young, long-haired Vietnam protestor in a turtleneck sweater, placing carnations into the barrel of a rifle of a National Guardsman.
When the antiwar demonstrators approached The Pentagon, Boston was sitting on top of a wall of the Mall Entrance when he saw a lieutenant march a squad of guardsmen into the crowd of demonstrators. The squad then formed a semicircle around the demonstrators, the young man in the photo emerged from the crowd and started placing carnations in the rifles. Boston took it as an opportunity to capture the moment, seeing that “everything came together” and he had a good angle sitting on top of the wall.
When Boston showed the photograph to his editor at the Washington Star, he “didn’t see the importance of the picture” so it was put aside. Instead, Boston started entering it in photography competitions, where it earned its recognition.