Tuesday, February 19, 2002
It's one of those photos you never forget - like the picture of those American soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. You've probably seen the photo of those three weary, dusty firefighters raising the American flag in the ruins of the World Trade Center. USA Today says "it may have been the blackest day's blackest hour" when that picture was taken. It was becoming apparent that there would be few survivors, and another tower - 7 World Trade Center - was about to fall. An evacuation order was issued to all the firefighters searching in the rubble. But one firefighter saw something on a docked boat - a debris-covered American flag on a broken pole. With the help of two other firefighters, he found a large metal flagpole jutting at a 45-degree angle from a ledge about twenty feet above the ground. They climbed up and rigged the flag to the pole - totally unaware that a photographer was watching - and capturing it for the world to see. A woman who taught nearby, summarized what that moment meant - "People were grasping for hope," she said, "and suddenly there it was."