I just received confirmation that the National 9/11 Flag is returning to campus, where we will be able to share it with the entire college community and our neighbors for almost a week.
The National 9/11 Flag is a symbol of American history, pride, and resilience. It is the largest flag that flew over Ground Zero. It was badly damaged in the tragic bombing of the Twin Towers, but it was repaired and saved, and today it contains patches and stitches that represent a nation’s grief and hope. Tornado survivors, veterans, and average patriotic Americans have added to its fabric as it has toured the country. The flag even contains a remnant of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on after he was shot at Ford Theatre.
I am honored to say that I have added stitches to this symbolic flag.
The National 9/11 Flag holds special importance for my family. My wife, Eileen, and I, lived in the New York area at the time of the tragedy. Like so many Americans, we suffered losses.
I’m now a member of the foundation that has been the keeper of the flag, The New York Says Thank You Foundation. I have supported the foundation in its efforts to memorialize the American spirit of solidarity and volunteerism and to keep that spirit alive and vivid. On the anniversary of 9/11, The New York Says Thank You Foundation sends volunteers to disaster sites across the country. To me, this effort echoes what we do at Saint Anselm College when we send students to places like the Gulf Coast to help fellow citizens whose homes have been damaged.
Saint Anselm College hosted the flag during my inauguration. It was presented on the college quad by a group of men and women, many of them Saint Anselm alumni, and some of them in uniform (video of the presentation is posted below). I’m delighted that this piece of American history will be on campus once more before it becomes a permanent part of the National 9/ 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.
It arrives April 10. With hope and faith in the future.