Following the 9/11 tragedies, folks from a small river community came together to create a traveling memorial to commemorate and honor the victims, families and heroes. The result is the 9/11 Memorial Flag, a tapestry created with hope, care and the American Spirit.
For six months, Thomas McBrien IV (the originator of the idea), his family, and more than 500 volunteers sewed away. They finished with a 22'x32' Memorial Flag made up of 2,983 miniature flags honoring each victim from the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93. Additional flags represent countries that lost lives and service organizations that bravely responded that day.
Since it's unveiling on the USS Intrepid on March 11, 2002, the Flag has traveled over 57,000 miles to more than 75 locations, and it has seen more than 6 million visitors. We're honored Hyatt Regency Savannah was chosen to host the Flag during the 2012 Supreme Emblem Club of The United States of America annual conference. Even more special, the hotel is the last public facility to display the Memorial Flag before its final resting place at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City scheduled for 2013.
The Flag arrived on August 31, 2012 at Hyatt Regency Savannah by police escort, members of the Georgia Army National Guard and Savannah Fire Department, and more than 75 bikers representing the Savannah Bomber Girls and Freedom Riders. About 200 people visited the hotel to attend the flag raising ceremony, including various city and county officials. Hotel General Manager Scott Snipes spoke at the ceremony and affixed a patch to represent the hotel.
Hyatt associates who attended the ceremony said it was a touching and emotional experience filled with American pride.
Gretchen Simmons, who has worked in housekeeping for 19 years, said, "I felt very patriotic and emotional. The whole ceremony was just awesome and the guests and all the staff did an awesome job. I am proud to be an American."
"I felt honored that Hyatt was chosen to have the flag here. It's just a very special feeling and interesting to learn about house they did the flag and the ceremony behind raising it," said Evon Carter of housekeeping. "I don't know how to put it all into words."
Shirley Lariscey, who has been with Hyatt for more than 31 years, said it was "very moving and deep. I am from New York, and 9/11 hits close to home. Home is where the heart is. The women who brought it here are very dedicated, and it is admirable to see such dedication."
The Memorial Flag remained on display at Hyatt Regency Savannah until this past Friday. Thank you to the conference and community for allowing us to be a part of it.