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Wichita State News

National 9/11 Flag returns to Greensburg for Memorial Day weekend

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The National 9/11 Flag will return to Greensburg, Kan., Saturday, May 28, for public viewing and an official flag-stitching ceremony. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. in the Kiowa County High School gym.

Students from the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University are promoting the return of the National 9/11 Flag. Students are combining their expertise in design and writing to gain valuable work experience, while generating publicity for the flag and Greensburg.

About 95 percent of the town of Greensburg was leveled on May 4, 2007, after an EF5 tornado tore through the region.

The flag will be available for viewing from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. American veterans, as well as the Patriot Guard, will be in attendance. During the ceremony, veterans Layton Warn, Pearl Harbor; W.R. Brenner, Bataan Death March; Lyle McVay, Utah Beach; and Gary Bartlett, Vietnam, will be among those to place stitches in the flag.

“The National 9/11 Flag is the ultimate modern-day symbol of the resilience and compassion of the American people,” said Jeff Parness, founder and chairman of the New York Says Thank You Foundation.

Flag history

The National 9/11 Flag, so named after the World Trade Center attacks in New York City, was one of the largest flags to fly above Ground Zero. It traveled as part of The New York Says Thank You Foundation to several natural disaster sites over the past 10 years to provide relief to people. The flag measures about 20 feet high and 30 feet wide.

In 2008, the foundation visited Greensburg, bringing along the tattered remains of the flag rescued from Ground Zero. It was there that the National 9/11 Flag was stitched together by women in the Greensburg Carriage House Assisted Living Center.

The flag has toured the country since its restoration in Greensburg. It is considered a source of healing for victims of tragedies and natural disasters, and has been dubbed the “Star Spangled Banner” of its generation.

“After seeing the flag, you’ll feel so proud when you leave,” said Matt Deighton, volunteer coordinator, Greensburg. “You don’t know how it touches people.”

The flag also will be available for viewing from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, May 27. At this time, repairs will be made to the flag. Members of the public can organize group photos with the flag prior to the event by contacting Deighton, (620) 388-1860.

For more information on the New York Says Thank You Foundation or the National 9/11 Flag, visit http://newyorksaysthankyou.org/ or http://national911flag.org/. You can also find the flag on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/dP7Y41.

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Created on Tuesday, May 17, 2011; Last modified on Friday, May 20, 2011