Remembering The Individual With Flags

Americans have a special relationship with their flag.

“Remember the Alamo,” “Remember the Maine,” “Remember Pearl Harbor” are mottoes that recall trials which have united our nation. Repeatedly in our long national history such trials have galvanized American resolve in the face of adversity. In all these challenges, the Stars and Stripes symbolizes the sacrifices that have changed history.

Flag of Honor, 10th Anniversary

So it is with the attacks of September 11th in 2001. Watching in disbelief on that clear fall morning, we thought the scene of destruction and devastation would never fade. Nevertheless, we saw the havoc of that day from a distance. The twin towers collapsing in smoke and rubble, the burning gash in the walls of the Pentagon and the crater disfiguring the landscape near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania were seen from afar. Yet in the close-up, each scene of attack revealed fellow humans, countrymen, family, and friends. The United States flag admonishes us, “Remember 9/11!” Yet, how can we focus in on the person? Three thousand died that day, victims of a band of terrorists; three thousand individuals, each one a separate life. Each life lost affecting a circle of family, friends and associates.

A decade ago John Michelotti pondered how to focus on the individual. He envisioned a flag patterned on the Stars and Stripes, but a flag where red and white stripes would be fashioned using the names of 9/11’s victims. From Michelotti’s vision sprang two flags, “The Flag of Honor” and the “Flag of Heroes.” At a distance the stripes appeared muted as if seen through the tears of those left behind. Drawing closer the viewer sees the focus sharpen to reveal names, the names of individuals who died that day. The “Flag of Honor” includes the names of all who perished in the attacks. The “Flag of Heroes” discloses the names, rank and affiliations of the first responders who, in rushing to save others, sacrificed their own lives. Below the stripes on each flag appears the flag’s name with a short explanation. Over the ten years since 2001 “The Flag of Honor” and “The Flag of Heroes” have honored three thousand, not a mass of humanity, but rather as individuals whose lives touched all those around them. Drawing close to the flags, names can be recognized, read and vocalized. Individual lives remembered.

Michelotti created the flags:

  • To immortalize the individual victims who were killed in the terrorist attacks.
  • To give comfort to families left behind knowing that their loved one will be honored and remembered.
  • To create an enduring symbol of the human sacrifice that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Now, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the two flags and to remember those honored by the flags, the “10th Anniversary Editions” are available. Each flag is identified by a special 10th Anniversary Logo. For some a collector’s item, for all a tangible reminder of lives lost. For everyone the two flags are a reminder so we will never forget attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and flight 93. Most important, however, this is not about attacks on buildings, land and airplanes; the tragedy and sacrifice embodied individuals who will not be forgotten.

Profits from the sales of these two flags have been committed to a list of charities. The Colonial Flag Foundation which originated and coordinates Healing Field and Field of Honor flag display programs is proud to be listed with the benefited organizations. We join with the Flag of Honor and Flag of Heroes Project in committing that we will remember the three thousand killed in the terrorist attacks.

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