Every American felt the tragedy of 9/11 and the humanity, kindness, and resilience we experienced as a Nation on 9/12. The stories we share have an impact on our families and communities. Whether you are a first responder, an active duty or military veteran, an educator, student, or an every day citizen, please share with us your feelings about what The National 9/11 Flag means to you.
Share your feelings HERE.
Rikki Smith, Joplin, Mo:
You know you’re doing something right when your 12-year-old daughter is asked to write a 250 word essay about “The Star Spangled Banner” and she sends this to the competition:
My Generation’s Star Spangled Banner
By: Emma Willerton
“It’s a once in a life-time chance, and I’ve done it twice,” I replied to the soldier. He held the National 9/11 Flag; it has been called the Star Spangled Banner of my generation.
The National 9/11 Flag has been in Joplin, Missouri, and Minot, North Dakota. That is where I got to hold it. Four generations of my family got to stitch on the flag, including me. We helped repair a piece of history.
The Flag used to hang on a building near the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. The Flag was rescued by volunteers helping with rebuilding.
Our national anthem was written about a flag flying over Fort McHenry. The flag symbolized that we had won the Revolutionary War battle. Threads from that original flag are now stitched onto the 9/11 flag, as are patches from the flag when President Lincoln was assassinated, and other national tragedies. Patches from flags flying during Joplin’s Tornado are also woven into the Flag.
When I hear the national anthem, I think of my generation’s Star Spangled Banner, and how much my family is tied to this national treasure.
James Hajny, Joplin, MO:
I am proud to me an American, as I am proud to have the Memorial flag come to Joplin, MO on the 10th Anniversary of this horrific attack on our beloved country. I and so many other proud Americans are blessed to be able to be a part of history to restore this piece of our history. I am still torn up about what happened on that day 10 yrs. ago, it seems like yesterday we witnessed this tragic event unfold. My heart goes out to all that have helped support this project, and to all who have lost someone dear to them on that day. All America was hurt, it was a time for our country to come together and help mourn the loss of so many whether we knew them personally or not. I know for me I cried every time I saw a picture of a loved one that had been talked about whether it was in the towers or one of the airplanes that was used in the attacks. Thank You for allowing so many American the opportunity to help and a time to give back even in this small way. God Bless and GOD BLESS THE USA!!!
Yetive L. Miles, Baton Rouge, LA:
The 9/11 National Flag arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on a sunny, windy, spring day. I was one of five volunteers from my job to help with the visitors coming to stitch the flag. Not knowing what to expect I arrived to what will be one of the most memorable days of my life. School children on a trip to visit the state capitol and not knowing the 9/11 National Flag was in the building were given a chance to become part of its history. One particular group of children wasn’t born when 9/11 occurred were going to return to school and be taught about the events creating flag they saw and stitched. At the end of the day when we took the flag outside of the capitol building to fold; a class of 9th graders were there to help us. Those children recalled their memories of 9/11 and how it didn’t seem real to them but having the opportunity to become a part of the 9/11 National Flag’s reconstruction gave them a different perception of that day. It was an awesome experience to speak with the Fire Marshalls from New York and Louisiana and hearing the pride in their voices as they spoke of the dangers they face daily. Being the daughter of a retired military personnel, I grew up with the insight and respect for scarifies our military, police and firemen/women give to allow us to maintain our freedom. The 9/11 National Flag tour will now give Americans the opportunity to say THANK YOU.
Lorraine E. Bender & Chuck A. Betz, Garwood, NJ:
We love our country, the National 9/11 flag is part of life and being able to live as free American citizens. This flag represents all Americans from all walks of life. Many people from these walks of life died on that awful day. I, in my heart, really appreciate everyone who made it possible for us to still have this amazing flag, it proves that we as a Nation can be stitched back together, and now we are even stronger together!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Suzanne Kraus Mancuso, Putnam Valley, NY:
Just wanted to say how touched I was by your story about the flag. We lost a family member on 911 and from all of us a sincere “Thank you!” I made you a painting.
Kimberly Boyd, Vice President of Mobilization and Impact, HandsOn Network, Atlanta, GA:
I had the remarkably opportunity to experience the flag this summer at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. It brought it all back, the memories of that day, disbelief, trepidation, urgency to track down friends in NYC and DC, how to explain it all to my then young children. Standing with the flag was Jeff Parness and for the first time I had an opportunity to say Thank YOU directly to the first responders from the city of NY. I asked how we could help – “can our network add service to the flag stitching ceremonies?” I asked. Jeff hugged me and said I was his hero – I teared up and commented on the remarkable irony of that statement. I am honored to play a small part in this tour.
Jen Hughes, Little Rock, AR:
Just took a moment out of my work day to stand near the flag at the Arkansas State Capitol. To say it took my breath away would be an understatement. What a wonderful project! Thanks for sharing this with the nation.
Edward Kostelaz, U.S Army Retired, Disabled American Vet, Patriot Guard Rider Hot Springs, AR:
I wanted to take the time to tell you how much I appreciate what your organization is doing. As a disabled vet and a patriot guard rider it does my heart good to see anything that brings people together and remind them of the great sacrifices our service men and women have given them. Please note that when I say service men and women I not only mean our military but our police, fire fighters, ambulance service, and all the others who dedicate their service to the good of the people of this great nation. Attached to this message you will find a picture of the fire fighters with me and the 9-11 flag on my bike. Thank You and God Bless America.
Pete Smith, Indiana Patriot Guard Evansville, IN:
This is an awesome project and I am thankful to say I was recently a small part of it. The Flag came to Baker Chapel on the 5th anniversary of a devastating tornado that struck our community along its 41 mile path. The death toll was 25 and among the physical damage was the former Baker Chapel which was leveled. In their “Pay it Forward” efforts annually since 9/11, the Firefighters from NYC came to little Degonia Springs, Indiana to help with the rebuild of the present Baker Chapel. As a Patriot Guard rider in SW Indiana, we were humbled and honored to be asked to escort the National 9/11 Flag about 17 miles from Baker Chapel to another community (Newburgh, IN) affected by the tornado. I was privileged to take part in the folding of the Flag and Jimmie sure knows what he is doing. What this Flag stands for is what is great about this country—long may it wave.
Karen Michalski, Streamwood, IL:
I am so excited about this event and my thanks to those initiating and making this project happen. This is such an important part of rebuilding our country from a tragedy that demonstrates how strong and united we are as a country. I am so proud of the men and women that serve our country and fight for our freedom. May this be dedicated to all of them and all the police and fire personnel, as well as Americans that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy that hit our country. We are survivors and will continue to stitch this flag and hang it proudly once again.
Jon Allison, Redondo Beach, CA:
Thank you for stitching us back together.