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All 50 states helping to repair 9/11 flag


The 9/11 Flag hangs at the top of the stairs in The Well of the Legislative Office Building. The flag, which hung from a building near the Twin Towers, was destroyed by the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The flag was restored by tornado survivors in Kansas and is now touring the country. Photo by Andrew Beam, The Legislative Gazette.
February 01, 2010
Amidst the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, a 30-foot American flag that hung at a construction site close by was ravaged by the attacks. The flag, now referred to as the National 9/11 flag, was on display in The Well of the Legislative Office building from Jan. 19 to Jan. 22, to remind New Yorkers of the tragedy, and act as a symbol of patriotism.

The flag was restored seven years after the attacks by the hands of tornado survivors from Greensburg, Kan. through the New York Says Thank You Foundation, a community service project that sends volunteers from New York City to help other areas of the country affected by disasters. The goal is to reciprocate the support received from other states after the Sept. 11 attacks.

While the foundation's volunteers helped to rebuild a 14,000-square-foot barn, that would serve as the town's 4-H building meant for holding events like the county fair, members of the Carriage House Assistance Center offered to stitch the flag back together. "Forty percent of the original flag was missing," said Jeff Parness, founder of the New York Says Thank You Foundation. "Fifty-seven people spent six days stitching the flag." Disaster victims from across the country assisted in the flag's restoration.

The flag has been displayed at events such as a Boston Red Sox game, the New York Giants home opener last September and a march down Main Street in Quincy, Mass. by Boy Scouts on Flag Day.

In what Parness referred to as a "grassroots restoration effort," the flag is on a two-year tour around the country where service heroes in each state are helping to stitch the flag back to its original 13-stripe condition. Pieces from retired American flags from all 50 states are being used in the process.

"We want to inspire Americans with the story of the flag," Parness said. "We need to share this flag with everybody." There is no specific end in mind, but Parness said the tour may run through the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In an effort to include all state capitals, the flag made its trip to Albany last month. Parness said the flag might come back to Albany for the stitching process. "We want to preserve the flag for generations," Parness said, "to remind people of 9/11 and the days after."

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