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Negative #: 2002-13839

Location: World Trade Center
Source: Transfer from the Federal Bureau of Investigation

American flag recovered from the World Trade Center
Description: This badly damaged American flag was found by a recovery worker in the World Trade Center debris at the Staten Island recovery site.

Context: The dominant symbol to emerge from the September 11 tragedy was the American flag. Raised over the World Trade Center ruins and hung from the damaged Pentagon, the flag became a powerful symbol of patriotism, survival, and resilience. Many Americans, who at one time had rejected overt displays of patriotism, returned to flying the flag at home, at work, even from their cars. The shared symbolism of the meaning of the flag helped unite Americans in a time of crisis. Only a few American flags from the World Trade Center survived the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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©2002 National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution