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Articles tagged with National 9/11 Flag

9/11 stitching ceremony features Byrne; national flag to be displayed at conference

Anne Byrne

A crowd of more than 400 watched Friday as some of the final stitches were sewn into the National 9/11 Flag in a ceremony that both commemorated the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and reaffirmed the resilience and public spirit of America.

“We’re honored to display this flag … this symbol of the nation’s perseverance in the face of an unimaginable tragedy,” said National School Boards Association (NSBA) President C. Ed Massey in opening the ceremony at the NSBA conference.

Flying atop a building across the street, the 30-foot-long American flag was left in tatters after the collapse of the World Trade Center, and its white stripes were permanently stained gray by the billowing clouds of dust and ash that swept across Ground Zero.

In 2008, the New York Says Thank You Foundation began organizing events around the nation where citizens—particularly local service providers—helped patch the flag back together. NSBA’s conference is the last stop on a 50-state tour before the flag is put on display when the National September 11 Memorial Museum opens in New York City.

Some of the stitches that bind the flag together have poignant stories behind them, Jeff Parness, founder and chair of the foundation, told conference attendees. One stitch was sewn by a child whose father died in the terrorist attack, while another was sewn by an Arkansas father whose son died serving his country.

Also included in the flag are threads from the original Star Spangled Banner, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and was the inspiration for the National Anthem. Other threads came from the flag that cradled President Abraham Lincoln’s head after he was shot at Ford’s Theater.

As part of the ceremony, retired New York City firefighters, a Navy commander, two San Diego elementary students, a staff member from U.S. Rep. Scott Peters’ office, a San Diego Padres’ executive, and NSBA Secretary-Treasurer Anne Byrne each added a stitch to the flag.

“I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I am by this honor and privilege,” said Byrne, who lives outside New York City and was the last person to add a stitch. “I lost a lot of friends, a lot of parents, a lot of alumni [in the tragedy.]”

In addition to sorrow, however, the attack also revealed the qualities of America, she said. “Americans came in droves to New York City to do whatever they could to help all of us, and we truly felt that out of the ashes of 9/11, America, all of you … had in your hearts that this was America that got hit, not just New York City. I want to say ‘thank you’ for coming to our aid on one of the darkest days I hope we ever face.”

That public spirit also will be highlighted in The 9/12 Generation Project, a sister initiative that Parness says will provide teachers with a framework to educate children about the terrorist attack. But instead of focusing only on the negative of 9/11, it also examines “the kindness, the humanity, the spirit” of volunteers who rushed to aid the city the day after the tragedy.

Attendees can learn more about the National 9/11 Flag and the efforts to restore it at and more about the 9/12 Generation Project at

Del Stover|April 12th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , , |

See the National 9/11 Flag at NSBA’s Annual Conference

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) 2013 Annual Conference will display the National 9/11 Flag, the 30-foot flag that was nearly destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and subsequent collapse of the World Trade Center in New York.

NSBA’s 73rd Annual Conference is one of the last stops for the 50-state tour of the historic flag, which had hung across the street from the Ground Zero site during the Sept. 11 attacks then was placed in storage.  In 2008, the New York Says Thank You Foundation began organizing events around the country where local service heroes help stitch the tattered flag back together using retired American flags, including threads from the nation’s first flag and a piece of the American flag that cradled President Abraham Lincoln’s head when he was shot at Ford’s Theater.

The National 9/11 Flag

After the NSBA conference, the flag will become a permanent display at the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center.

The tour of the flag is designed to inspire citizenship and national pride and bolster the spirit of volunteerism as well as educate younger generations.

“NSBA and the thousands of school board members and educators who will attend NSBA’s Annual Conference will be honored to have the opportunity to view the National 9/11 Flag during its journey,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “This historic flag is a poignant symbol of our country’s pride and perseverance.”

Jeff Parness, Founder & Chairman of the New York Says Thank You Foundation, said that the project’s mission is to help teach students about how national tragedies can give the nation hope and a spirit of service.

“This is one of the core tenets of The 9/12 Generation Project which is providing a framework for teachers to educate students about 9/11 through the filter of kindness, humanity, and citizenship that we experienced as a Nation – and as a world – on 9/12,” Parness said. “These positive and uplifting lessons are embodied in the flag and are timeless and universal for educators and students alike. We are honored to share this national treasure with the NSBA before the flag is transferred to its final home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.”

The museum does not yet have a schedule for opening. After being mired in financial and governance controversies for years, construction was further delayed when Hurricane Sandy flooded the site in November.

For more information about the flag and the efforts to recover and restore it, go to 




Joetta Sack-Min|February 26th, 2013|Categories: NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , , |
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