On September 11, 2011, The National 9/11 Flag was brought to Joplin, Missouri, the site of one of Missouri and America’s deadliest tornados. It brought a path of destruction one mile wide by fourteen miles long to the southern part of the city on May 22, 2011. It killed 160 people and injuries scores of others.
The flag was brought in front of the remains of St. John’s Hospital at 9:00 am on September 11 for a very moving ceremony. It was unfurled and held by members of the Joplin fire and police departments and other city dignitaries. It remained unfurled during moments of silence at the exact times, 10 years earlier, that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell.
After this ceremony the flag was brought to the campus of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. A Memorial service and stitching ceremony was held in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on the campus. The service started at 11:00 am and was followed by a stitching ceremony that lasted until 5:00 pm.
There were several donated flags that were used to create twelve restorative patches. A patch 4 inches high by 24 inches long was made from the red stripes of a flag that flew over the University. It’s location is approximately 6 feet from the right edge of the Blue Field on the top red stripe. There were eleven other patches made from five other flags donated by the city of Joplin. The patches were made on site the previous day and were used at the far right end of the flag from the first red stripe on the bottom to the sixth red stripe. Each patch was made to help even out the right edge of the flag.
There were 1068 people placing stitches on the patches. There were six stitching stations, one at the top of the flag where many military and first responders from Joplin placed their stitch, and five other stations located along the right hand edge of the Flag for general public stitching. Dignitaries placing stitches included Dr. Bruce Speck, President of MSSU; Chief Lane Roberts of the Joplin Police Department; Chief Mitch Randles of the Joplin Fire Department and Staff Sgt. John Grayson from the United States Army. The remaining material from the flag was returned to the donors.
Members of the Flag Tour Team present at the ceremony include Jeff Parness, Carolyn and Denny Deters, Veronica Christiansen, Tony Bacalle, Lori Sullivan, Patti Lanni, Jill Adkins, Dolores and Robert Hutchson and Dave Tasich. FDNY firefighter Jimmy Sands was in Joplin on Saturday the 10th only. Also present were members of the Stars of Hope group from Grosbeck, Texas.
The location of the Joplin patches are outlined on the picture below.