Raising the Flag at Ground Zero
is a photograph by Thomas E. Franklin
of The Bergen Record
, taken on September 11, 2001. The picture shows three New York City firefighters
raising the American flag
at ground zero of the World Trade Center
following the September 11 attacks
. The official name for the photograph used by the Bergen Record is Ground Zero Spirit
. The photo appeared on the Record front page on September 12, 2001. The paper also put it on the Associated Press
wire and it appeared on the covers of several newspapers around the world. It has often been compared to the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal
during World War II
Franklin shot the photograph shortly after 5 p.m. with a telephoto lens
. At this time, he was standing under a pedestrian walkway across the West Side Highway
that connected the center to the World Financial Center
, located at the northwest corner of the World Trade Center
site. Franklin said the firefighters were about 150 yards (137 m) away from him and the debris was 100 yards (91 m) beyond that. They were about 20 feet (6 m) off the ground.
Franklin had hitched a ride on a tug boat across the Hudson River, arriving around noon after the towers had collapsed. He was with photographer James Nachtwey when he saw the firefighters.
The firefighters pictured were Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson of Rockaway Beach and Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2).
The flag came from the 130-ft. (40 m) yacht
named Star of America
, owned by Shirley Dreifus of the Majestic Star, which was docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center. McWilliams took the flag and its pole from the yacht to an evacuation area on the northwest side of the site. They found a pole about 20 feet (6 m) off the ground.
The flag has since disappeared. The city thought it had possession of the flag after the attack, Rudolph Giuliani and George Pataki signed it, and the flag flew at the New York City Hall, Yankee Stadium, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during its service in the Mideast. However, when the flag's owner prepared to formally donate the flag it was discovered that there was a size discrepancy: while the yacht's flag measured four feet by six feet, the flag the city had in its possession measured five feet by eight feet. As of July, 2007 the flag has yet to be found. The owner, Shirley Dreifus, has started a Web site (www.findthe911flag.com) in an effort to get the flag back.
The "Heroes 2001" stamp, USA Scott
#B2, was unveiled on March 11, 2002 by President George W. Bush
, in a ceremony attended by Franklin, Johnson, Eisengrein, and McWilliams. These stamps were semipostals
: they had a purchase price (45¢) higher than their postage value (34¢), with the balance given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency
's relief efforts. A special exception was thus made to the normal requirement by the United States Postal Service
that subjects of stamps be deceased.
In December 2001 The New York City Fire Department unveiled plans for a statue based on the photograph to be placed at the Brooklyn headquarters. In an effort to be politically correct, the statue was to include black, white, and Hispanic firefighters. However, it was cancelled in an outcry about rewriting history — the depicted firefighters are white.
From another angle
The picture taken by Thomas E. Franklin is not to be confused with another picture
of the same event but from a different angle by Ricky Flores for The Journal News
. Flores also was able to get near Ground Zero on the day of the attacks and at around the same time that Franklin took his shot, Flores was able to get into a second story of a building on Canal Street
with its glass shattered out and capture this picture