Born September 2001 in Lower Manhattan, Ground Zero Volunteers Flag is a group of strangers who became family while volunteering following America's darkest morning in history.
Ground Zero Volunteers Flag, originally known as The Ground Zero Flag was founded in 2001 by a few New Yorkers volunteering at Ground Zero. Made and donated by Valley Forge Flags of Pennsylvania, The Flag is 60' X 30' and weighs 92lbs. It was first displayed on 1 Liberty Street, known also as Brooks Brothers Building September 22, 2001 for approximately two months (due to repairs beginning on the damaged building). The Flag assisted in strengthening the fortitude those who responded to the most devastating attack to occur on American soil. Since 2002, The Flag has been presented for various causes all around New York; including but not limited to: Horse Soldier Dedication, USS New York, USS Intrepid, The New York City Veterans Day Parade, Bronx Veterans Day Parade, Cyclone Stadium, Mets Stadium a.k.a City Field, Salute to America, Band of Pride/Stand Up America Tribute, and the annual September Tribute.
After the September 11th terrorist attacks, people flocked to the ruins of the Twin Towers and several other destroyed buildings to offer help in any way possible. Providing aid based on each volunteers individual set of skills, many worked tirelessly among First Responders, New York's Finest and Bravest. The Flag that fortified and united so many people over the years was retired in 2011 due to historical reasons. Thus the group's name officially changed from The Ground Zero Flag to Ground Zero Volunteers Flag in honor of the original Flag's retirement. It's the "end of an era" but it's not the end of our traditions. The bonds formed by Ground Zero volunteers of all walks of life are truly unique and unbreakable...That's why 92lbs of cotton hasn't altered that. Each year our Ground Zero family grows and we're honored to continue these traditions with our new 60' X 30', 90lb Flag to this day.
Our group's new Flag was thankfully provided again by Valley Forge Flags.
We'd like to give a special thanks to Unifuse for beautifully crafting and donating our custom made Flag case in spring of 2011. It makes makes transporting our Flag to events quicker, simpler and easy.
God Bless Our Veterans and God Bless The United States of America.
Background Photograph: Cierra Mazzola
Many strong connections were made between people down at Ground Zero, despite the terrible atrocities that occurred. The Founders of the Flag met down at Ground Zero and "joined forces", each combining different energies, that have helped make our community what it is today...15 years later.
Denise Lutrey Casalinuovo
After witnessing the attack from Chinatown, Denise and husband Johnny left for Ground Zero. Though all volunteers weren't allowed immediate access to help until the following morning of 9/12, Johnny and Denise stayed throughout the entire nine month cleanup like many other volunteers and first responders.
Johnny a former sheet metal worker helped with the cleanup process for nine months after witnessing the 9/11 attacks from his Chinatown building with his wife Denise.
A long time New York City business owner, John of Gotham Seafood was eager to provide any help he could following the 9/11 terror attacks. John also stayed throughout the duration of the cleanup.
Note: John is no longer an active member of our community