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Raising The Flag At Ground Zero – Everything You Need To Know


Time has passed so fast. However, on September 11, the waving 9/11 flags remind us of the terrible attacks in 2001. 

Today, Flagwix will discuss “Raising The Flag At Ground Zero,” which is an integral part of the event on September 11th, 2001. 

Let’s recall it so that such glorious history won’t ever fade!

What Is “Raising The Flag At Ground Zero”? 

These words are the name of a famous picture about the September 11 attacks. Some basic information about it includes:

  • Other names: “Firemen Raising the Flag at Ground Zero” and “Firefighters Raising Flag”  
  • Taken by: Thomas E. Franklin (an American photographer for The Bergen Record) 
  • Date taken: September 11, 2022
  • Scene: Three firefighters raised the American flag at Ground Zero at World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks 

Thomas E. Franklin took the picture right after five o’clock with a telescopic lens. At the time, the photographer was standing beneath a pedestrian bridge that crossed the West Side Highway to link the World Financial Center, which was on the northwestern side of the World Trade Center. 

Franklin guessed that the distance between him and the three firefighters was 150 yards, with the debris spreading 100 yards beyond that. They might be around 20 feet off the ground. 

After the towers had fallen, Franklin had moved to a towboat at the Hudson River, reaching there around midday. He came with James Nachtwey, a photographer, when spotting the three firefighters. 

1. Thomas E. Franklin captured this historical moment

What Happened In The 9/11 Event? 

The September 11 attacks, also referred to as 9/11, were a sequence of four planned suicide terrorist attacks on the U.S.A taken by the violent Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda.


Nineteen attackers hijacked four planes in the morning while they were flying from the northeastern United States to California.

Three teams with five terrorists each, together with a team of four, had a qualified hijacker who got the airplane. They intended to hit the aircraft with well-known American structures, leading to massive casualties and catastrophic structural damage.

So, there were four teams, each attacking a building: 

  • The first plane: the North Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City
  • The second plane: the South Towers of the World Trade Center (also in the New York City)
  • The third plane: the Pentagon in Virginia 
  • The fourth plane: a government building in Washington, D.C.


Two hundred units, about half of the department of the New York City Fire Department, immediately headed to the World Trade Center. Dozens of off-duty firefighters and emergency medical specialists added to their efforts.

The Emergency Service Units and other police officers in its aviation team maneuvered to the New York City Police Department.

Hours after the incident, a considerable search and rescue effort started. By the end of May 2002, the World Trade Center site had been cleared after months of persistent effort.


This tragedy is the deadliest terrorist assault in human history and the deadliest occurrence in American history for law officers and firefighters. The damage was terrible:

  • Fatalities: 2,977 (with 340 firefighters and 74 law enforcement officers killed) 
  • Injuries: more than 25,000
  • Property and infrastructure damage: $10 billion
  • Long-term health effects
  • Significant cultural influence

You can learn more about this event right here:

2. People still remember the date

The Flag From Ground Zero

The flag belonged to Shirley Dreifus and her spouse, Spiros E. Kopelakis. They docked the flag in the World Financial Center’s yacht deck on the Hudson River.

One of the three firefighters in the photo, McWilliams, used a K12 Saw to break the yacht’s yardarm off. He then brought the flag with its pole to the evacuation zone on the northern west side. 

The three firefighters spotted a pole 20 feet off the ground protruding from a pile near the towers. They inserted the flag into the pole and raised it. Thomas E. Franklin saw that scene and captured it. 

The flag disappeared soon after the firefighters raised it above Ground Zero. After the strike, the city believed it was in charge of the flag.

George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also signed it. Then, while the USS Theodore Roosevelt was serving in the Middle East, it flew over Yankee Stadium, New York City Hall, and the ship.

Now, the government has decided to preserve the flag and the photo in the museum. Hence, people can drop by and look at this historical evidence. 

3. American people kept the photo and the flag in the museum

Later Use Of The “Raising The Flag At Ground Zero” Photograph 

To make this glorious image widespread, people have used different methods to recreate it. 


Michael Kessel suggested that Gary Ackerman, the U.S Representative, use the photo to make stamps. 

These stamps were semi-postals because they cost more to buy than they were worth in postage, with the remaining funds going to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for relief efforts.


The statue planned to portray firefighters of all races in an effort to symbolize everyone impacted by the attacks. 

However, this project failed because it changed the ethnicity of the firefighters when all of them were white. The controversy prevented it from being constructed. 


A bronze monument, which is 40 feet tall referring to the image “To Lift A Nation” came out on November 5, 2007. It depicted the three brave firefighters who raised the flag above the World Trade Center’s rubble.   


“Raising The Flag At Ground Zero” remains popular these days because it represents the most tragic attack in American history. Too much severe damage to humans and property still moves every heart. 

Hopefully, you can learn beneficial information after reading the article. If you need further details about the event, please let us know. We will be glad to help.

Thank you for reading!

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