NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An iconic American flag that disappeared after the Sept. 11 terror attacks will now be displayed where it allegedly flew 15 years ago.
Like the flag rising at Iwo Jima, the image of three firefighters hoisting the American flag amid the destruction of the World Trade Center came to symbolize strength and resilience after 9/11.
The flag traveled to Yankee Stadium and a Naval vessel in the Middle East, but the one that returned to New York was larger. The original was missing.
In 2014, author Brad Meltzer featured the mystery of the missing flag on his TV show, “Brad Meltzer’s Lost History.”
Four days later, Meltzer said a man who identified himself as a former Marine walked into a firehouse in Everett, Washington and handed over what he believed was the lost flag. The man claimed it came from a 9/11 widow.
A forensic analysis revealed the flag contains dust from the World Trade Center site, Meltzer said. The ropes, knots and black electrical tape also match, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
“The dust from 9/11 is like a fingerprint,” Meltzer said. “As our forensic experts said to me, ‘This is a fingerprint.’ He said ‘I’d stake my house on this one.'”
Despite lingering questions, Meltzer is certain it is the iconic flag, where it will go on display Thursday at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
“No one can verify that story and to this day no one knows who the missing Marine is,” Meltzer said.
The History Channel will air a program on the flag’s recovery this Sunday, the New York Times reported.