To mark this year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Wreaths Across America is encouraging all Americans to pick up a flag.
The nonprofit is launching a special initiative on the tragedy’s 19th anniversary, one that asks all Americans to honor those lost by waving a flag outside for one minute at four different significant times on Friday.
The effort will begin with a one-minute flag wave at 8:46 a.m., the same time American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center’s North Tower in New York City.
Then, at 9:03 a.m., participants will wave their flags for another minute, this time to honor the time that hijackers flew United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower.
A third flag wave will happen at 9:37 a.m. to mark the time American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, and the fourth and final will come at 10:03 a.m., the time United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.
The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 killed 2,977 people across three different sites. In Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people died, while 184 people were killed at the Pentagon. An additional 40 people were killed when Flight 93 crashed, according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
By 2018, an additional 2,000 deaths had been attributed to 9/11-related illnesses, including cancer, according to Mount Sinai.
Wreaths Across America’s initiative was inspired by Elaine Greene, JoAnn Miller and Carmen Footer, three women who became nationally known as The Freeport Flag Ladies after they stood on a hill in Freeport, Maine and waved an American flag every Tuesday morning for 18 years.
They put down their flags for good on Sept. 11, 2019, and the nonprofit — which is known for placing veterans’ wreaths on headstones in Arlington National Cemetery — stepped in the next week to keep their legacy alive along U.S. Route 1 in Jonesboro, Maine.
“Especially over the last six months, this flag waving has taken on new meaning for us all and given a spark of hope and patriotism during this difficult time in our country,” Karen Worcester, executive director of the organization, said in a statement. “I hope Americans will see this as an opportunity to not only honor those directly affected by 9/11, but also to follow in the footsteps of ‘The Freeport Flag Ladies.’”
Worcester’s husband, Morrill Worcester, is the founder of Wreaths Across America, and recently donated land to Acadia National Cemetery, which opened to the public in his hometown late last month.
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