HACKENSACK, N.J. (Sept. 5) - The American flag
that was raised by three firefighters over the
wreckage of the World Trade Center, one of the
most enduring images of Sept. 11, has disappeared.
After it was removed from the site during cleanup,
the flag flew on U.S. ships serving in the war in
Afghanistan. Then, in March, it was returned to
New York City officials.
But the flag that city officials preserved
measures 5 feet by 8 feet. The flag the
firefighters raised on Sept. 11 measured 4 feet by
6 feet, according to its original owners.
''It's just a really awkward and difficult
situation,'' said Lark-Marie Anton, a spokeswoman
for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ''What it
represents is really what's important.''
Bloomberg has asked city fire officials to
investigate what happened to the flag. Officials
say they are unaware of anyone claiming to possess
The flag came from a yacht, the Star of America,
that was in a Hudson River marina near the World
Trade Center that day. Firefighter Dan McWilliams
took it from the yacht and walked back to Ground
Zero, where he and two colleagues, George Johnson
and Bill Eisengrein, raised it on a slanted pole.
The scene was captured by Thomas Franklin, a
photographer with The Record of Bergen County, and
distributed worldwide by The Associated Press.
The discrepancy about the flag size was discovered
last month when the yacht owners, Shirley Dreifus
and her husband, Spiros Kopelakis, borrowed the
flag for an event on board the Star of America.
The couple had been preparing to formally donate
the flag to the city when they said they noticed
the flag was too big to be theirs.
''It's a mystery,'' Glen Oxton, an attorney
representing the owners said Thursday in The
Record. ''Who knows what happened to it after the
firefighters put it up and the photograph was
taken? There was so much activity down there.''
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