The National 9/11 Flag
The National 9/11 Flag, which flew above the wreckage at Ground Zero, is a symbol of the resilience and compassion of the American people in the face of disaster. The flag's presence, at the presidential installation of Dr. Steven DiSalvo, is a recognition of his part in helping the nation heal in the years following that tragic day.
Both native New Yorkers, Dr. DiSalvo and his wife, Eileen, suffered the loss of friends on 9/11. Also, 14 young alumni of Fairfield University, where Dr. DiSalvo worked at the time, died that day in the World Trade Center.
Some time later, Dr. DiSalvo had the opportunity to help arrange a major, anonymous donation for the New York Says Thank You Foundation, which sends volunteers to disaster sites across the country on the anniversary of 9/11.
It was a chance for Dr. DiSalvo to support and celebrate the vivid spirit of solidarity and volunteerism that he recognized in New Yorkers in the aftermath of the tragedy.
New York Says Thank You became the custodian of the National 9/11 Flag, which was among the largest flags to fly above Ground Zero. Badly tattered, the flag has been stitched together by tornado survivors, veterans and average Americans in its travels through the 50 states. Dr. DiSalvo himself has placed a stitch in the flag.
Flags from disaster sites around the country have been used to patch the National 9/11 Flag, which has American history woven into its very fabric. On President Lincoln's Birthday in 2011, a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on when he was shot at Ford's Theater was stitched into the flag. Threads from the flag at Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem also were stitched into it.
Dr. DiSalvo is a member of the board of the New York Says Thank You Foundation. At Saint Anselm, he is glad to see that students sponsor an annual 9/11 Day of Service. It is an initiative he would like to see replicated in every college and university across the country.
The flag is pledged to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.