Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Flag With A Heart

Photo from The New York Says Thank You Foundation

The National 9/11 Flag represents the essence of The American Spirit and the very best of what America is all about; our resilience, our compassion, and our love for our fellow neighbors, both near and far.
–The New York Says Thank You Foundation

Yesterday this flag found its way to Shellbelle's Tiki Hut, figuratively not literally, and now I want to share its heart-touching story with you. On Friday I posted a 9/11 tribute, as did many others and then on Sunday I did a follow-up post after learning about a wonderful group of volunteers from the New York Says Thank You Foundation (NYSTY), made up of "FDNY firefighters, many of them survivors of the World Trade Center — as well as Ground Zero construction workers, 9/11 family members, NYC schoolchildren and scores of other New Yorkers impacted by the tragedy of 9/11…" I also included a link for you to watch a trailer for a film about this incredible group and told you it would lift your spirits.

So, I figured this week I would get back to blogging about the beach and food — two of my favorite things. As I was plugging away at work, I was also trying to figure out what I would post for Outdoor Wednesday. Let's see, I have those recent photos of my little plumeria farm, or I could post those videos of Jim starting work on a new tiki. Then out of the blue I received the nicest email from Scott Rettberg. Scott, along with Megan Sleeper are the producers of the film I had written about, New York Says Thank You The Movie.

In his email Scott wrote, "I love the article and am going to send it out to about 400 industry people just to show there are a lot of people who want to hear great compelling stories." (Oh, The Hut goes to Hollywood!)

I promptly replied, thanking Scott and asking if I could mention his email in a future post. Well, Scott not only answered in the affirmative, he sent along these photos taken last Sunday. They show members of NYSTY walking the National 9/11 Flag onto a football field.

photos courtesy of New York Says Thank You The Movie

Scott wrote, "It was great to see boy scouts, firemen, and volunteers from KPMG and all over arm in arm walking the 9/11 flag on the field of opening day NY Giants vs. Washington Redskins (both who were directly affected on 9/11). They attached the flag from the Little Sioux Boy Scout Camp and the families of Josh, Aaron, Sam and Ben probably never thought their spirits would be flying Red, White and Blue in front of a sold out crowd of 88,000 people who rose to their feet swinging towels and cheering for them, the firemen and this nation. A pretty spectacular sight."

Note: Josh, Aaron, Sam and Ben were the four scouts killed at Little Sioux Boy Scout Camp by a tornado last year. It was at this camp that NYSTY volunteered last week.

Well, you know me, I had to know more about this flag!

I downloaded a pdf at New York Says Thank You Foundation's website and learned that this 32-foot American Flag is the one that was hanging at a construction site across the street from the Twin Towers and had been destroyed by the falling debris. I remember seeing this flag in the news footage that followed in the days after 9/11, weren't we all glued to our televisions?

Turns out that Charlie Vitchers, a construction superintendent at Ground Zero had the flag removed and "kept it in a plastic bag for seven years, not sure what to do with it."

In 2008, Charlie, who is a volunteer with NYSTY, took the flag when they went to Greensburg, Kansas to help the local residents after they had suffered a devastating tornado. As NYSTY help rebuild the 4-H Fairground Pavilion, local residents and other volunteers "stitched the Flag back together using pieces of American Flags salvaged from the Greensburg tornado."

"In doing so, they literally stitched together our shared stories of tragedy and of triumph and created a new and living piece of American History."

The goal of the foundation is "to display the Flag at leading public and private events nationwide and to inspire American with its rich visual history in order to deepen our sense of citizenship and national pride and bolster the spirit of volunteerism on the 9/11 Anniversary and year-round."

Now readers, don't you agree that this is a flag with heart? I imagine that each volunteer left a piece of their heart and that a bit of soul from each victim is forever attached to this Flag. And I imagine that this Flag has touched each of our hearts today. This is the National 9/11 Flag, this is America's Flag, this is the spirit of America that I so love and it's what gives me the strength to carry on when the future of our country looks bleak. Because I know that when we see the hurt, I know that when we feel the pain, we do come together to help our fellow citizens. We are a loving, compassionate people. We are the United States of America!

In one of Scott's emails today he wrote, "I agree, let's motivate the world to take action." Scott has generously offered to keep us in the loop on the film's media roll out next year and subsequent release, which in turn, I will relate to you. You can also follow them on Facebook, just do a FB search for New York Says Thank You The Movie. Scott put a link to Sunday's post from The Hut on their FB page and one of their fans wrote, "It is so cool to see things like this. People actually watch what's on TV and follow up!"

Thanks Sandra, and you know what else? People read things on blogs and actually follow up also, so readers be sure to bookmark this post so you can visit the New York Says Thank You Foundation and New York Says Thank You The Movie, but most of all readers, do something nice for someone today. I love you all, have a fabulous day!

I am proud today to link this special post to Susan's Outdoor Wednesdays and I hope that as you are out there in blogland today you will once again leave a little heart at each blog you visit.

12 Thoughtful Comments:

Regina said...

Hi Rhonda such a heartfelt tribute. Wonderful post.

Kat said...

Beautiful post. This is the type of unity I was thinking of when I wrote my 9-11 remembrance. Thank you so much for posting this. It really is what this country is all about, when we get past all the "crud". Have a wonderful day. Kathy

Magdalena said...

Rhonda thank you for reminding me how wonderful our great country, world and the human spirit are. a lovely post and tribute!
Have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhonda! Such a nice post. Truly a flag with a heart.

My name is Riet said...

What a lovely post.
Have a nice day

Snowbird said...

Great post.

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Awesome that the flag came out of the bag!! This rhyme just happened, I swear! Okay..., I have a thing for little rhymes..., but honestly, great story and I love that picture where you see how huge the flag is (and the people working on it).

Mary Bergfeld said...

What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Signing Out said...

Wow, what a great story! Thanks for sharing it.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Rhonda, this is wonderful! I'm glad the producers of that fine film read your positive feedback and sent you photos of this beautiful flag. Again, it shows how just a little outreach can mean so much for so many!

9-11 has become a National Day of Service, and volunteerism is a lasting legacy in memory of all lost -- and reminding the world that love can surely conquer hate.

PS: I never heard of Fitzgerald, GA. Very interesting! So many communities worked hard to come together after the Civil War.
We identified two brothers lying side by side at Green-Wood in Brooklyn, NY, one who fought for the North, one who fought for the South. They were mortally wounded at the same battle. Luckily they lived long enough to reconcile before their deaths. We have identified 60+ Confederates buried in the cemetery. So many compelling stories have been discovered! The cemetery historian has written a book about it which can be found on the cemetery's web site

Drawn to The Sea said...

Loving people filling empty spaces with pieces of their own hearts... there is no greater kindness.

Sweet day,

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I just love this post. Thank you so much for sharing. :-)

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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