What’s known as the National Nine-Eleven Flag will be in Iowa for a special event later this month. Jeff Parness, of the New York Says Thank You Foundation, says the big banner will be in Eagle Grove as part of the third annual Aaron Eilerts Day of Service and Giving in Iowa.
The flag was among the largest American flags that flew above the wreckage at Ground Zero in New York after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The flag was damaged from flapping against the wrecked scaffolding of the ruined building.
Parness says the large flag will be brought to Iowa to help honor Eilerts, who was one of four Boy Scouts who died in a western Iowa tornado a few years ago while at camp.
“We’re doing stitching ceremonies where service heroes from the community and just everyday citizens are having the historic privilege to stitch the flag back to its original 13-stripe format,” Parness says. “Our goal is to make the flag whole again by the 10th year anniversary of September 11th.”
The flag will eventually be come part of an exhibit at the National 9-11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan. Eilerts and the three others were killed when the tornado tore through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Harrison County in June of 2008.
Parness says Iowans can nominate people who could help stitch the flag back together during the Eagle Grove event.
“As part of that nomination process, we’re reaching out to them to invite them into the formal ceremony that we’re doing in Iowa on the 24th to honor them and to recognize them, either for their service to the community, their service to the country,” Parness says.
February 24th was Eilerts’ birthday. Parness says the flag is being brought to Iowa as part of a collective healing process.
“Even though it’s called the National 9-11 Flag, it’s really about the essence of 9-12,” Parness says. “It’s about when Americans come together to help each other recover after a disaster, whether it’s a tornado in Iowa or whether it’s the tragedy we experienced here in New York. In a way, it’s really the same. That spirit is really what we’re trying to honor.”
The flag will be on display at Robert Blue Middle School in Eagle Grove from 8:30 AM until 3 PM on February 24th. Learn more at: www.National911Flag.org.
Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City