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Who took the Ground Zero flag?
August 31, 2006 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Remember this picture? Arguably the most famous flag raised since this one was, and apparently its now gone missing. And now the three firefighters who didn't know they were being photographed won't talk to the press about a flag appraised to be worth over $500K.
posted by allkindsoftime (49 comments total)

 
Monetary value lessens the worth of the flag.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:21 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Perhaps someone in command perceived it as too modest a flag to be seen from a distance ... and deliberately replaced it with a more commanding flag”-- this indeed occurred in the case of the famed Iwo Jim flag raising in 1945."

See, that one was all dingy, but the one we've decided shall commemorate this event has real gold piping, and custom embroidered stars, not just a dyed sheet with "made in China" printed down in the corner.
posted by Balisong at 7:23 AM on August 31, 2006


A dyed sheet with "Made in China"... how much more American can you get?
posted by Malor at 7:31 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline Kennedy's pink pillbox hat was part of her ensemble the day President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Although the National Archives has the first lady's blood-spattered pink suit, the hat has disappeared.

Who knew that the National Archivists were so morbid?

"So, uh, Jackie--sorry about the husband and all...great loss, great loss. Hey, listen, you still got that pantsuit? You haven't drycleaned it, have you? 'Cause that, like, halves the value."
posted by Iridic at 7:37 AM on August 31, 2006


The post is a little misleading. The firefighters aren't refusing to talk about the flag, they're refusing to talk to the media period. It may be a small point of contention to some, but the FPP makes it almost sound like they are trying to hide something from the media on this specific issue.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 7:45 AM on August 31, 2006


The original is probably hanging above Cheney's bed.
posted by Mr_Zero at 7:49 AM on August 31, 2006


Ahh propaganda. Reminds me of The Daily Show line about Bush under the "Mission Accomplished" banner (paraphrased):

"No matter how bad you hurt our country, you can be sure that we'll respond with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."
posted by zekinskia at 7:58 AM on August 31, 2006


It's in somebody's souvenir collection.

I bet there is a competition..
posted by Balisong at 7:59 AM on August 31, 2006


.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:06 AM on August 31, 2006


Quarterly Prophet -

You're right, I did mislead. I'm sure the press is beating down these firefighter's doors to get their opion on global warming, the John Mark Karr fiasco, why we can't find Osama, animals in space, the Bill Buckner ground ball...
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:26 AM on August 31, 2006


Who knew that the National Archivists were so morbid?

The National Archive has the original blood-stained theatre program that was in Lincoln's hands when he was shot.
posted by jscott at 8:29 AM on August 31, 2006


and to get their opinions too. and their onions.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:30 AM on August 31, 2006


I think the "misleading" part of the post is where you say, "And now the three firefighters who didn't know they were being photographed won't talk to the press about a flag appraised to be worth over $500K." (emphasis mine)

The article clearly states the firemen have declined interview requests for the past five years, not just "now."
posted by heydanno at 8:37 AM on August 31, 2006


"The original is probably hanging above Cheney's bed."

Nah, if Cheney had it he'd be using it as a cum rag.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:38 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've recently been informed it's still too early to make fun of September Eleventh. Someone tell me when I can make fun of expletitive like this. I'm chomping at the bit over here.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:39 AM on August 31, 2006


Wow, I didn't realize the NJ newspaper and the firefighters had such a big argument about proceeds from the flag image. Funny that a replacement flag's movements were tracked with such reverence, though.
posted by mediareport at 8:39 AM on August 31, 2006


Also, that sentence in general takes a pretty accusatory tone towards the firefighters. The original flag has been missing since seven months after 9/11, and that fact was pointed out by one of the firefighters.
posted by heydanno at 8:45 AM on August 31, 2006


Zekinskia: to pick nits, that staged photo-ops line was delivered by Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
posted by cardboard at 8:45 AM on August 31, 2006


(ok, dumb me. didn't read first article closely enough. lurk mode back on)
posted by heydanno at 8:49 AM on August 31, 2006


Why is it appraised to be "worth" $500k?? Why is it worth anything really? That seems odd (and a little bit disgraceful). Not that I'm big on stumping for sacred cows or anything, but the flag has sentimental value for a lot of people, but that's it. It kind of grosses me out when monetary values are assigned to such things.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 8:52 AM on August 31, 2006


The National Archive has the original blood-stained theatre program that was in Lincoln's hands when he was shot.

There is only one possible outcome: Evil Lincoln Clone.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:01 AM on August 31, 2006


Monetary value lessens the worth of the flag.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:21 AM PST


snark
Yea, that is why I should be given the flag. Many times, so I have something to burn, make clothing out of and a tent for camping.
\snark
posted by rough ashlar at 9:05 AM on August 31, 2006


Monetary values are placed on things when someone admits they'd be willing to pay X in order to attain Y. I blame algebra.

There are people (I'm assuming - I don't know any personally) who would be willing to pay money for a chunk of the Berlin Wall. How is that any more or less offensive than paying for a chunk of the World Trade Center? Personally I don't know what the going prices are, but I'm sure somebody somewhere knows. Maybe what's more offensive is knowing such things? Or wanting to know such things?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:07 AM on August 31, 2006


That's the point, though. You shouldn't be assigning value to it in the first place. Its worth is not that kind of worth.

A flag is a representation of an idea, not a signification of value.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:10 AM on August 31, 2006


Arguably the most famous flag raised since [Iwo Jima]...

I think this might be a more famous flag-raising.
posted by painquale at 9:14 AM on August 31, 2006




Evil Lincoln Clone

posted by jon_kill at 9:21 AM on August 31, 2006


Who knew that the National Archivists were so morbid?

The National Archive has the original blood-stained theatre program that was in Lincoln's hands when he was shot.


That, plus Jackie O's clothing and Taft's boil-rag compose the three most presidentially gory objects in the Archive's collection. You can see them on display as part of the Archive's "Presidential Drippings" display.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:28 AM on August 31, 2006


Arguably the most famous flag raised since this one was

Ahem
posted by cillit bang at 9:29 AM on August 31, 2006


Arguably the most famous flag raised since [Iwo Jima]...

both painquale and cillit bang point to more famous flag raisings than the one of the firefighters. The firefighter pic is only part of one country's mythology. Reading the 1st 2 sentences of the FPP, I was thinking of the moon landing pic and wondered how in the heck the flag would have gone missing, and how we'd even know if it had.
posted by raedyn at 9:51 AM on August 31, 2006


you know, if you guys want to argue about it, you should really pay attention to the first word you're quoting.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2006


...and wondered how in the heck the flag would have gone missing...

I've heard some of those collectors can get pretty wily.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:17 AM on August 31, 2006


I was kinda hoping those NYFDers were just not talking to the media, comma, semicolon, period. Good on 'em.

I was thinking of the moon landing pic and wondered how in the heck the flag would have gone missing, and how we'd even know if it had.

Woo hoo! Three-minute sci-fi story challenge!
posted by pax digita at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2006


The sooner this story goes away, the better. That shot of the firefighters raising the flag always struck me as a cynical summoning of Iwo Jima (and WWII along with it) for jingoistic purposes in the wake of what was a devastating moment for this country.

The fact that even today our civilian leadership is using the images and language of World War II (and in one case, explicitly stating that this is World War III) while describing this so-called War on Terror makes me sick. I feel sorry for the firefighters who have been exploited through this photo, and I feel sorry for everyone who's been cheaply manipulated by it.
posted by rocketman at 10:28 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sorry rocketman, but patriotism is unavoidable in a situation like that. It's understandable, though, as the government is one of the few things every American has in common. Would you rather they raised a cross?
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:02 AM on August 31, 2006


but patriotism is unavoidable in a situation like that

Hm. Maybe. I was never prouder to be a New Yorker in the aftermath of 9/11. The dignity, compassion, and levels of cheerful dogged volunteerism I witnessed were both stunning and touching. In fact, more than just New Yorkers, people came from miles away to help us out. For a time, I felt that Americans did care about each other deep down, underneath our competitive veneers and our shallow red state/blue state loathing of the other.

As for the flag-waving, blood-lust patriotism that also came later, I couldn't climb on board. I was still stung from the tv images of Bush in his bunker while people were dying downtown.

When I saw this image published in the Record, it struck me as a bit contrived, but I saw it as more of a tribute to the firefighters and their sacrifice than anything to do with feeling patriotic. The flag only has meaning in the photo because it obviously has meaning to the three fireman in it. For me at least, it has no significance of a patriotic symbol.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 11:59 AM on August 31, 2006


Sorry rocketman, but patriotism is unavoidable in a situation like that. It's understandable, though, as the government is one of the few things every American has in common. Would you rather they raised a cross?

Why do you need to raise anything? People know which country they're in.
posted by cillit bang at 12:02 PM on August 31, 2006


"but patriotism is unavoidable in a situation like that"

We keep using that word. I do not think it means what we think it means.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:10 PM on August 31, 2006


Patrtiotism /= Nationalism
posted by Balisong at 1:39 PM on August 31, 2006


There are people (I'm assuming - I don't know any personally) who would be willing to pay money for a chunk of the Berlin Wall.
Here you go.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:52 PM on August 31, 2006


I was thinking of the moon landing pic and wondered how in the heck the flag would have gone missing, and how we'd even know if it had.


posted by quonsar at 6:02 PM on August 31, 2006


Arguably the most famous flag raised since this one was

*cough*

I had never actually seen the fireman pic before. Do you think the guy on the right was deliberately positioned so that the flagpole would appear so phallic?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:10 PM on August 31, 2006


Oh, beaten to it long ago by cillit bang.

Arguably the most famous flag raised since this one was

allkindsoftime: you know, if you guys want to argue about it, you should really pay attention to the first word you're quoting.

OK, here's an argument: "arguably" is a particularly weak & wishy-washy claim. Anything is "arguable".

In this case, the argument that the fireman photo is the most famous flag-raising one since the Iwo Jima one is, quite frankly, bollocks, as it is easily trumped by both the moon-landing one & the Reichstag one.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:22 PM on August 31, 2006


It is arguably the most famous recent flag-raising, as evinced by those of you arguing about it.

As for the first flag on the moon, some time back I ran across this interesting tale of vexillological history.

p.s. Thanks for the post, allkindsoftime. A great American story — a firefighter takes a $50 flag that isn't his, somebody else takes a picture, then somebody else takes the flag, and it's now worth $525,000.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:55 PM on August 31, 2006


It is arguably the most famous recent flag-raising, as evinced by those of you arguing about it.

lelilo: "Water is arguably H30!"

everyone else: "No, it's H20."

lelilo: "Ha ha! You're arguing with me, which means I was right!" [wins national debating trophy]
posted by painquale at 10:18 PM on August 31, 2006


Although the National Archives has the first lady's blood-spattered pink suit,

I wonder whether they have that semen splattered blue dress as well...

What?!?
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:36 PM on August 31, 2006


To give credit to lelilo, the meaning of arguably is arguably arguable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:47 PM on August 31, 2006


lelilo... [wins national debating trophy]

“In accepting this trophy I'd like to thank my parents, my minister, my teachers, all of my friends, and most sincerely painquale, without whom none of this (arguably) would have been possible.”
posted by LeLiLo at 10:49 PM on August 31, 2006


Maybe they just didn't want it to turn into yet another idiotic meaningless tourist gimmick.
posted by HTuttle at 12:17 AM on September 1, 2006


cillit bang writes "Why do you need to raise anything? People know which country they're in."

We're talking about Americans here.
posted by Mitheral at 11:29 AM on September 1, 2006


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