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John Michelotti Creates Flag Tribute To Victims Of 9/11 For 10th Anniversary

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American Flags (file / credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

American Flags (file / credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP / CBSNewYork) - Nearly 3,000 flags bearing the names of 9/11 victims will go up in a park near Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman With The Story

John Michelotti, 59, a former engineer from Greenwich, Conn., came up with the idea, which he is calling NYC Memorial Field.

Michelotti designed the flags shortly after the attacks while recovering from an emergency quadruple bypass which he underwent in the summer of 2001.

“You realize that every day of life is a gift,” Micheloti told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman. “I thought, ‘These people were killed because they were Americans.’ They should be remembered as individuals and, somehow tied to the symbol of America.”

The Flags of Honor feature the names of the victims in red and blue — creating the stripes of the American flag.

Michelotti has created several memorial fields over the years. On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, he placed the flags in Upper Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park.

Since the new 9/11 memorial will only be open to victims’ families on Sept. 11, Michelotti will place the 3,000 flags in Battery Park to give all New Yorkers a place to gather publicly, pay respects and reflect on the tragic events.

“It’s one flag, one life,” Michelotti said. “It gives you a visual impression of just exactly what 3,000 looks like.”

The flags will be mounted on 7 1/2-foot poles, low enough for visitors to hold and read the names. They will be on display from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12.

“A hundred years from now, when some child takes one of these flags out of a foot locker in the attic, he’ll be able to understand what really happened that day. It wasn’t just a bunch of buildings falling down. It was real people,” said Michelotti.

Flag of Honor (credit: Flag of Honor Fund)

Flag of Honor (credit: Flag of Honor Fund)

LINK: Flag Of Honor Fund

He says the city parks department has granted a permit for the flags. A message for the agency wasn’t immediately returned.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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