Everyone remembers the iconic photograph of three firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero. But nobody seems to be able to find the flag now. What became of it?
As we prepare to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, a mystery of sorts is surrounding the somber date.
The three firefighters who raised the flag from the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City became a symbol of the perseverance of those who helped with the rescue efforts.
The photograph, taken on the evening of 9/11, was captured by a local photographer of a newspaper publication from New Jersey called Tom Franklin.
The everlasting image became an inspiration to those who worked for months clearing the site and for many other Americans around the world.
In situations such as this, the flags are usually taken to a museum or other appropriate building, such as a firehouse in Manhattan.
A recent CNN documentary, is attempting to discover what became of the flag that rallied the troops on 9/11.
During the days that followed the attacks on the Twin Towers, the three firefighters and the photographer were identified, but they all stayed in the background, not wanting to bring attention to themselves.
In the special The Flag, the news network examines how the image of the firefighters had a powerful impact on anyone who saw it.
According to the documentary, one of the firefighters grabbed the 3 feet by 5 feet flag from a yacht that had landed nearby in the rubble and grabbed his two buddies to raise it, Franklin was at the right place and captured the now famous image.
That is the flag that toured the nation making appearances at Yankee Stadium during the first baseball game after the attacks and on the deck of the USS Roosevelt, which was carrying troops leaving for Afghanistan.
The mystery started when the couple who owned the yacht wanted borrow the 9/11 flag for a special ceremony aboard their boat.
Shirley Dreifus and Spiros Kopelakis made the request to the City of New York and the New York Fire Department, who were custodians of the flag at the time.
They realized that what they didn’t get their flag, since the one provided was 5 feet by 8 feet and obviously not their flag, which by the way, they intended to donate to the Smithsonian.
“When we got the flag, we were quite stunned that it was the wrong flag,” Dreifus says. “This flag could wrap around us and we said, ‘OK this is not a 5 foot flag.’ … This flag wraps around the two of us and we’re not the thinnest people on Earth and it still wraps around us. So we knew right away it was the wrong flag.”
The documentary producers believe someone in the first responders community knows where the flag ended up and doesn’t suspect any wrong doing.
Michael Tucker, one of The Flag’s co-directors, hopes that after the airing of the special on September 4, they will receive information, which began trickling in from viewers as CNN aired promotional ads for the piece.
They had received about 50 tips by Wednesday, the day the special aired, some more credible than others. Hopefully this special will help find the 9/11 flag which symbolizes more than anything, the unity that Old Glory brought to a shocked nation during one of its darkest hours. Never forget.