Raising the Flag at Ground Zero

This post is a re-run of Photos That Changed History: Raising the Flag at Ground Zero which was posted one year ago.

Today marks the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York City and in Washington D.C. Several bloggers out there have been posting about their memories of that day and showing photos and newspaper clippings that ran on 9/11/2001. One of the most well known is the photo featured in this post: Raising the Flag at Ground Zero taken by Thomas E. Franklin who works for The Record in New Jersey as a photojournalist. The photo below is one of the more iconic images from September 11, 2001 and was printed out as a limited edition postage stamp in 2002.

This photo was taken during the late afternoon, around 5 PM while Franklin was standing under a pedestrian walkway over the West Side Highway on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site. He was about 150 yards away from the firefighters as they took the flag and raised it over the rubble that had once been the Twin Towers. The men in the photo are George Johnson and Dan McWilliams from Ladder 157, and Billy Eisengrein of from Rescue 2. The flag itself was taken from the yacht Star of America owned by Shirley Dreifus. The Star of America was docked in the Hudson River near the World Financial Center. McWilliams cut the yardarm from the yacht and took the flag and its pole to an evacuation site on the northwest side of the site. They found a pole and raised the flag over the rubble while search and rescue efforts were still on-going.

In 2007, a statue inspired by this photograph was unveiled at the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial Park in Emmitsburg, MD. Named “To Lift A Nation,” the statue depicts three New York firefighters raising a flag over the ruins of the World Trade Center. An earlier attempt to create a statue based on this photograph was quashed over the statue’s revisionist basis, depicting three unknown men instead of the three shown in the photograph.

Since today marks the 12 year anniversary of this attack, we’d like everyone to know that our thoughts are with the survivors of this attack and with the families of those who went to work on a fine September morning and never came home again.

— da Bird