Tue. Jul 23rd, 2019

Mystery of flag from iconic 9/11 photo that went missing the night after the attacks and has never been seen again

3 min read

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 20:10 EST, 1  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 21:57 EST, 1 September 2013

The flag that three weary New York City  firefighters hoisted above the wreckage of the World Trade Center on September  11, 2001 became an instant icon when a photo capturing the moment was published  around the world and turned it into a symbol of the nation’s resilience after  the shocking attacks.

A new documentary reveals that flag  disappeared the night of September 11 and has never been seen again.

For 12 years, it was thought that the flag  was removed from its makeshift flag pole at Ground Zero and appeared at a New  York Yankees game before being flown atop the aircraft carrier USS Theodore  Roosevelt as it launched airstrikes on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Missing: The so-called 'Ground Zero Flag' has not been seen since the night of September 11, 2001 

Missing: The so-called ‘Ground Zero Flag’ has not been  seen since the night of September 11, 2001

 

Icon: The picture of New York City firefighters George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein, raising the American flag over Ground Zero has been seared into the national memory 

Icon: The picture of New York City firefighters George  Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein, raising the American flag over  Ground Zero has been seared into the national memory

 

However, ‘The Flag,’ a CNN documentary set to  air at 9pm on Wednesday, claims that the real Stars and Stripes from that  memorable 9/11 photo has vanished – and has never been seen again in public  since that tragic day.

Filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein  believe a first responder took down the flag and has been keeping it as a  souvenir.

The 3-foot-by-5-foot flag, along with the  mast, was taken from a boat docked near the World Trade Center by firefighters  George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein on that tragic morning.

When the original owners of the flag, Shirley  Dreifus and Spiros Kopelakis, asked for it be temporarily returned, the flag  they were sent – the one that had been publicly autographed by Mayor Rudy  Giuliani and Governor George Pataki at the Yankees game – turned out not to be  their flag. It was much bigger.

‘That’s not the flag that they raised on  9/11.  The flag that went to Yankee Stadium, or was on the ship, could not  have been the flag that was in the photograph,’ Ms Dreifus tells the filmmakers.

 

Fake? It has long been thought that the Ground Zero Flag was taken to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and flown on the aircraft carrier as it commanded missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan 

Fake? It has long been thought that the Ground Zero Flag  was taken to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and flown on the aircraft carrier as it  commanded missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan

 

The couple sent the ‘fake’ flag back to City  Hall, where that one has apparently been lost, as well.

Bergen County Record photographer Thomas  Franklin took the iconic photos of the three FDNY firefighters raising the Stars  and Bars above Ground Zero that afternoon.

Mr Eisengrein, the man pictured on the right  in photo, said he and the other firefighters went straight back to work after  hoisting the flag – there were still people trapped in the rubble.

‘It was literally over in just a few minutes.  We found a spot and raised the flag. The three of us looked at each other, we  looked at the flag, and that was that,’ he told the filmmakers.

‘We just felt that we had other things that  needed to be accomplished right then.’

Video obtained by the CNN camera crew from  the night of September 11 shows that the flagpole was bare even then – meaning  the famous Stars and Stripes flew just a few hours before it was taken down and  spirited away.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408628/9-11-flag-CNN-documentary-reveals-flag-famous-photograph-missing-12-years.html#ixzz2diYbDD6i Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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