Stitching America Back Together
Kids and families across the country help repair a famous American flag
People from around the country gathered to take part in the stitching ceremony.
(Photo by LSD Photography)
The Baltimore Flag House in Maryland recently commemorated the bicentennial, or 200th anniversary, of the War of 1812 with a special stitching ceremony. Kids and families linked the Star-Spangled Banner with a flag damaged during the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The flag, now called the National 9/11 Flag, hung on a building directly across from the World Trade Center buildings. These were among the buildings destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
American flags that are no longer fit to fly are retired, or taken out of use. But volunteers have stitched together patches and threads from other retired flags from all 50 states to repair this special piece of American history. Jeff Parness, the founder and chairman of the New York Says Thank You Foundation, presented the flag in Baltimore.
“In the days following 9/11, a 30-foot American flag was dangling, torn and tattered, from 90 West Street, the building directly south from where World Trade Center once stood,” Parness remembered. “…[T]he flag was shredded as it flew across the scaffolding that was heavily damaged in the collapse of the South Tower.”
The foundation has sent the flag all across the country to be repaired. The patch from the state of Maryland, sewn on in the recent ceremony, included three threads from the famous flag known as the Star Spangled Banner. This 30-by-42-foot flag was made by flagmaker Mary Pickersgill. It flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The contributions of all the states have made the 9/11 flag a symbol of service and sacrifice. Hawaii’s patch was sewn on aboard a naval ship in Pearl Harbor, which was attacked by Japan during World War II. Firefighters who provided aid in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 stitched that state’s patch. At the Kennedy Space Center near Orlando, Florida, members of the U.S. space program added Florida’s patch to the 9/11 flag.
“It is our hope and our prayer that for generations to come, the National Flag does not just tell the story of what happened on 9/11, but more importantly it tells the story of what happened on 9/12, when Americans came together to help each other recover and heal,” said Parness.
Hannah Prensky is a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.