This coming September 11 will be the 15 th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks that had changed our world almost beyond recognition ever since 2001. That time, at a moment when New York City and the rest of the United States was weighed down by despair, three FDNY firefighters borrowed an American flag from the yacht Star of America, and hoisted it up on a leaning flagpole.
Photographed by the Bergen Record, became an iconic image of the tragedy and a symbol of endurance that helped bring the shocked nation back to its feet. The flag used would vanish mysteriously mere hours after the picture was taken.
But now, close to 15 years after 9/11, the original flag has found its way back to New York City, as The New York Times reports. I say “found its way back” because the missing flag resurfaced in Washington State, on the other side of the continental US, back in 2014. And it would take those two years of investigation and careful study before it could be verified as the genuine article.
CNN tackled the story of the missing flag in one of their original films released in 2013. Michael Tucker, writer/producer/director of “The Flag”, opined that the original flag was misplaced or spirited away by unknown parties even as firemen, police and other rescue personnel were busy at work digging for survivors – and bodies – at Ground Zero.
It wasn’t exactly missed either, for the missing flag had been replaced in its pole by a larger, damaged Star-Spangled Banner. This was the one assumed by people as THE 9/11 flag, and it was given honor at the September 23 Prayer Service at Yankee Stadium, flew on the carrier USS Roosevelt during the Afghanistan campaign, presented to the world at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the list went on.
But on November 2014 a retired Marine known only as “Brian” handed a flag to a fire station at Everett, Washington. Before he left, never to be seen again by investigators, he claimed to Everett deputy police chief Mark St. Clair that he had received the flag during Veterans Day 2007 from a man who in turn received it from a 9/11 firefighter’s widow. Initial DNA tests did not find DNA on the flag from any of the three firemen who raised it, nor from the owners of the Star of America where it was supposed to have been taken from.
Nonetheless, further examinations carried out all those following two years eventually reached a 99% probability that the flag was indeed the one belonging to yacht owners Shirley B Dreifus and her late husband, before it was commandeered to take a place in American history however brief.
Finally it has come home and will rest at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, approximately on the site where it flew 15 years ago.
Photo Credit to http://fox17online.com/