National 9/11 Flag Comes to Meridian

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Restore, Empower, and Inspire. That is what New York City Firefighter Jimmy Sands hopes the National 9/11 flag does to all who get to view it.

Local heroes and community members had the chance to do more than just view this national treasure Monday in Meridian.

Many helped to stitch and restore the once-torn and broken symbol of the American spirit, following the September 11th attacks.

"We can't bring back the people that we lost, but this is the one thing that we can actually fix and bring it back to as close as possible to the way it looked before the attacks," said Sands of the NYFD Engine Company 331. "What we are doing is traveling the country with this 20 x 30 flag that is known as the National 9/11 Flag."

The large flag beneath the smaller flags is the one that was destroyed in the aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Center.

The smaller flags were sewn on by survivors of the Greensburg, Kansas, tornado. Other pieces have been sewn by war heroes, military veterans, first responders, and community service members.

Members of the community are given a chance to stitch the flag as well. Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry was one of the many who was able to add a stitch.

"We are a community with such strong military ties," said Barry. "We were very much so involved in the 9/11 attacks with our fundraising done by our non-profits. This makes me proud to be an American and it makes me proud to be a part of the stitching ceremony."

The flag will go to Texas next. Meridian was just the 24th state on the flag's tour.

"We've got quite a few more states to go," said Sands. "We are hoping to have it done by the 10th Anniversary."

It's also worth mentioning that Sands and his peers are touring with the flag during their off-duty hours, a sacrifice that he says is well worth it.