On September 11, 2001, my concept of what is normal was changed forever. I watched helplessly as thousands of lives were extinguished and The Towers evaporated into dust. Like most Americans I watched it played over and over praying the outcome would somehow miraculously change. It didn’t.

Recovering from recent heart surgery, I had become soberingly aware of my own mortality. That realization gave me overwhelming sympathy for the victims and their families. I knew that history should never relegate the individuals who perished that day to mere numbers but should always remember them by name.

The victims and the heroes were our families, our friends, and ourselves. They came from every background, every color, every ethnicity, every religion. They were everything that is good about America. Hell – they were America – and a piece of America died with them that day.

Every one of them should be remembered in a way that will honor their memories and forever tie them to the symbol of America. In addition, people from 90 other countries lost their lives in this attack on America. They, too, deserve our respect and remembrance.

My inspiration for designing the Flag of Honor and the Flag of Heroes was the desire:

  • To immortalize the individual victims that were killed in the terrorist attacks
    of September 11, 2001,
  • To give comfort to the families left behind knowing that their loved one
    will be forever honored and remembered,
  • And to create an enduring symbol, recognized by the world, of the human
    sacrifice that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The Flag of Honor contains the names of all those that perished in the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, United flights 175 and 93 and American flights 11 and 77.

The Flag of Heroes contains the names of the emergency services personnel – the heroes who gave their lives so that others could live.

Together these flags give the families, friends, all of America, and the world symbols that will forever memorialize, individually, the men, women, and children that were lost that dreadful day.

We shall never forget them.

John Michelotti