HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An American flag honoring a firefighter who died on Sept. 11 was apparently stolen from the front yard of his sister’s Long Island home.

Melissa Brengel said the flag was taken from her home on Michael Lane in Huntington Station late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

“We have other neighbors who have flags up and mine was the only one that was taken,” Brengel told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “It’s a dead end block, I’m the last house and they came and they took the flag and left everybody else’s up.”

The flag was given to Brengel by the September 11th Families Association after she lost her 29-year-old firefighter brother Jonathan Ielpi on 9/11.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff explained, the flag flew over Ground Zero through 9 months of recovery efforts. The flags were then presented to the families of victims.

“It was one of the flags they flew over the site during the recovery and cleanup,” Brengel told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “They gave flags to the family members.”

Ielpi lost his life rushing to help victims on the 40th floor of the south tower.

Leslie’s father Lee heads the 9/11 tribute center. For the family, flying the ground zero flag was one way of ensuring that Jonathan’s legacy would live on.

Brengel said every time she walked past the flag she would think of her brother, who she called an “everyday hero,” and all the other lives lost that day.

“There’s no reason to take anything off of anybody’s property,” Brengel said. “For that particular flag to be taken it’s tough because my son asks why they would take that? Why that flag? Why uncle Jonathan’s flag?”

Brengel flies the flag on special occasions in honor of her brother and said she just wants it back, no questions asked.

“I don’t want to get anybody in trouble,” Brengel said. “I’m not asking them to show up at my house at the door with the flag in their hand, just leave it, leave it here.”

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