September 11 flag visits N.D.A dozen North Dakota heroes were honored Friday as part of a nationwide tour to create triumph from tragedy as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches.
By: Teri Finneman, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — A dozen North Dakota heroes were honored Friday as part of a nationwide tour to create triumph from tragedy as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches.
The event included displaying the National 9/11 Flag in the state Capitol. Destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, the flag is now on a 50-state restoration tour.
Local heroes and the public are invited to stitch the flag to create a national treasure that will become part of the permanent collection of the Sept. 11 memorial museum in New York City.
The flag initiative isn’t so much about Sept. 11 as it is about Sept. 12, said Jeff Parness, founder and chairman of the New York Says Thank You Foundation.
“It’s not just remembering the tragedy, but it’s also honoring that service and sacrifice and kindness and humanity that brought us together on 9/12,” he said. “That’s what the restoration of the National 9/11 Flag is really all about.”
North Dakota was the 45th state on the tour, which has been remarkable, said tour manager Carolyn Deters.
“The people are so receptive and so in awe of the flag, particularly as we get closer to the anniversary,” she said. “It’s been quite an amazing journey.”
The flag has been stitched by soldiers who survived the shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, and by World War II veterans at Pearl Harbor, according to the foundation. It was also at the funeral of Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old who died in the Tucson shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The flag also includes a piece of the flag that cradled Abraham Lincoln’s head when he was shot at Ford’s Theatre.
Brian Benesh of Dickinson is now among those to stitch the historic flag. He was recognized as a local hero for his dedication to veterans.
“Those people cannot and will not be forgotten,” he said. “They served and they sacrificed, and they must be honored.”
The parents of Ann Nelson, a Stanley native who died in the World Trade Center attacks, also attended the event.
“To me, this event is a beautiful symbol of the spirit of the American people as they put our country back together from that wounding experience of 9/11,” said her mother, Jenette Nelson.
Other North Dakota heroes honored included Sgt. Steve Kenner, the Bismarck police officer killed in the line of duty, and those who have shown dedication to the military and public safety.
The National 9/11 Flag is about more than fabric, Parness said.
“It’s about all the people and recognizing their service to the country, their service to their communities and all coming together and healing this national icon and making it whole again for the 10th anniversary,” he said.
Teri Finneman is a
multimedia reporter for
Forum Communications Co.