FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2011
Sandra Lovett, MSAS
Missouri Southern State University
Kelly E. Wilson, Director
Missouri Southern State University
Rod E. Suber, MSAS, APR
Missouri Southern State University
NEW YORK, NY & JOPLIN, MO - When 9/11 happened, it did not only happen in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 9/11 happened in America.
It is for that reason that The New York Says Thank You Foundation announced today that it will end its historic 50-state restoration tour of The National 9/11 Flag on September 11, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri – the site of one of the nation’s deadliest tornadoes in history which took the lives of 160 people and destroyed an estimated 40 percent of the town this past May 22.
“By going to Joplin with The National 9/11 Flag on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, we will be making a powerful statement that New Yorkers will never forget what people from small towns and big cities all across America did for us in our time of need,” stated Jeff Parness, founder of New York Says Thank You Foundation. “By letting the folks in Joplin place the final stitches in The National 9/11 Flag and by letting them heal this national treasure, it will make an historic statement that ‘we are all in this together’ and that the resilience and the compassion of the American people is so much greater than any act of terror or catastrophic act of nature.”
About The National 9/11 Flag
Destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11 and stitched back together seven years later by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas, The National 9/11 Flag has become recognized as the modern day version of the Star Spangled Banner.
Over 200 Million Americans have experienced The National 9/11 Flag through national and local TV coverage, public displays in small town gatherings, and major cultural and sporting events. The flag has been stitched by soldiers and schoolchildren who survived the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, by World War II veterans on the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, by the family of Martin Luther King Jr., by Members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, and by thousands of everyday service heroes nationwide. On President Lincoln’s Birthday, a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on when he was shot at Ford’s Theater was stitched into the fabric of The National 9/11 Flag. In May 2011, The National 9/11 Flag was presented as the official flag for The Kentucky Derby. On August 9, 2011 The National 9/11 Flag was stitched at the base of Mount Rushmore.
Currently on a journey across America through the 10th Year Anniversary of 9/11, the goal of The National 9/11 Flag Tour is to display this historic flag at leading venues nationwide, to empower local service heroes in all 50 states with the privilege of stitching the flag back to its original 13-stripe format, and to inspire 300 million Americans with the flag’s rich visual history in order to deepen our sense of citizenship and national pride and bolster the spirit of volunteerism on the 9/11 Anniversary and year-round. When complete, The National 9/11 Flag will become a part of the permanent collection of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum being built at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.
“Our hope and our prayer is that for generations to come, The National 9/11 Flag will tell the story of not just what happened on 9/11, but was also happened on 9/12 – when Americans came together to help one another recover from disaster. It is that spirit of humanity, kindness, and volunteerism that united us on 9/12 that we hope to celebrate in Joplin, Missouri this September 11,” added Parness.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 DISPLAY & STITCHING CEREMONY
The National 9/11 Flag will be displayed by Joplin first responders, local residents, and by disaster survivors from across the United States in a silent tribute at 8:58 a.m. CST through 9:28 a.m. CST at Cunningham Park at the corner of 26th Street & Maiden Lane in Joplin, Missouri. The two times correspond to the exact moments that the South Towers and North Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. From there, The National 9/11 Flag will be processed to Leggett & Platt Auditorium on the campus of Missouri Southern State University where the flag will serve as the backdrop for a 9/11 Memorial Service beginning at 10:30 a.m.. Following the Memorial Service the community will be invited to place the final stitches to repair The National 9/11 Flag at which point material from American flags that survived the Joplin tornado will be sewn into the fabric of The National 9/11 Flag. Stitching will be open to the public until 5 p.m.
JOPLIN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES INVITED TO PAINT 3,000 “STARS OF HOPE”
In addition to the display and restoration of the National 9/11 Flag, Joplin’s schoolchildren and families are encouraged to come out September 9, 10, and 11 and paint Stars of HOPE – a special community art project of New York Says Thank You Foundation and Groesbeck Rebuilds America where kids paint inspirational words and messages on wooden stars that are planted on street corners throughout devastated communities. The Stars of HOPE literally transform the physical and emotional landscape of the community overnight and have generated immeasurable hope and inspiration for other communities nationwide devastated by natural and man made disasters including Greensburg, KANSAS, Galveston, TEXAS, Little Sioux, IOWA, Fort Hood, Texas, Mena, ARKANSAS, and Ellijay, GEORGIA.
This year, for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the goal was set to paint and plant 3,000 Stars of HOPE to pay tribute to each one of the victims who perished on 9/11 and to also pay tribute to those lost in Joplin.
The Stars of HOPE will be painted at Flag of Freedom Plaza on the Oval on the campus of Missouri Southern State University on Friday September 9 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and again on Saturday September 10 from 8 a.m. – 5 pm.. On Saturday September 10 the stars will be screwed onto bright green stakes and planted at street corners throughout Joplin over the 9/11 Anniversary weekend.
FDNY FIREFIGHTERS AND DISASTER SURVIVORS TO “PAY IT FORWARD” IN JOPLIN
The New York Says Thank You Foundation expects to bring nearly 100 volunteers to Joplin during the 9/11 Anniversary weekend to help with the Stars of HOPE project and National 9/11 Flag including a number of New York City firefighters, Ground Zero construction workers, and disaster survivors whose communities were rebuilt by New York Says Thank You on previous anniversaries of 9/11 and who will be volunteering in Joplin as their way to “pay it forward.” These volunteers include tornado survivors from Greensburg, Kansas, DeGonia Springs, Indiana, Groesbeck, Texas, Ellijay, Georgia, and Hurricane Katrina survivors from Slidell, Louisiana.
A large contingent of volunteers from KPMG – the audit, tax and advisory firm and the lead sponsor of The National 9/11 Flag restoration – are traveling to Joplin to participate in the various service projects in Joplin throughout the 9/11 Anniversary weekend. “KPMG’s people are proud to be actively involved in the 10th anniversary weekend in Joplin. This is the latest step in our firm’s long involvement in the restoration of the National 9/11 Flag, and we are gratified to have made a genuine difference,” said Rob Arning, KPMG’s Vice Chair of Market Development. “It has been said that difficult times bring people together and worthy causes keep them together. That is so true in the way that 9/11 brought New Yorkers and all Americans together.”
INSPIRATIONAL MOVIE ABOUT 9/11, HOPE, AND RESILIENCE TO BE SCREENED FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9
Finally, the community is invited to attend the free screening of NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU on Friday September 9th at Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall on the campus of Missouri Southern State University. Filmed and edited over a six-year period, NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU is a full-length documentary feature film that has been described as “the best movie about volunteerism ever made.” The 84-minute film received a “G” rating by The Motion Picture Association of America making it suitable for all audiences. Produced by Scott Rettberg and Megan Sleeper, NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU tells the story of scores of people affected by 9 /11 and by natural disasters nationwide and how they have rebounded in spirit and rebuilt hope in their lives by helping others in need. The film is a testament to the American Spirit as the New York Says Thank You volunteers gather every year on the
9/11 Anniversary in small towns across America impacted by disasters to participate in good old fashioned “barn-raisings.” In candid interviews and through tears, smiles, and laughter, these volunteers show how it is possible to transform tragedy into hope by coming together to “pay it forward” and help other communities in need to rebuild.
SCREENINGS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC on FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9 AT 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. TICKETS MUST BE PICKED UP IN ADVANCE AT BILLINGSLY STUDENT CENTER, ROOM 109 ON THE CAMPUS OF MISSOURI SOUTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY.
NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU FOUNDATION WOULD LIKE THANK OUR JOPLIN, MISSOURI PARTNERS
On behalf of all of our volunteers with Stars of Hope, The National 9/11 Flag and New York Says Thank You the Movie, we would like to say THANK YOU to Missouri Southern State University and The City of Joplin, MO for allowing us the opportunity to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 with the community of Joplin. This weekend is full of truly inspirational service and fundraising initiatives including SERV-A-THON which is sponsored by Missouri Southern State University whose mission is to engage teams from across the nation to serve in honor of each victim lost in the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Joplin Tornado. Please visit their website: www.mssu.edu/joplin-911. .
Jeff Parness, Founder & Chairman
New York Says Thank You Foundation