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Ground Zero flag makes appearance at Northampton Fire Department ahead of retirement

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – The Ground Zero 9/11 flag team was in Northampton on Sunday, making an appearance in western Mass. just before the flag was removed.

The flag is due to retire on November 2, the anniversary of its removal from Ground Zero. On Sunday, rescuers, bikers and others came together to reflect and remember.

“Never forget the sacrifices that were made,” said retired Holyoke Fire Department member Jordan Lemieux.

First responders and motorcyclists braved the heat on Sunday afternoon to escort the 9/11 flag team to the Northampton fire department.

The American flag hung above Ground Zero, a cross-cut piece of marble from the structure, and a logbook was escorted into western Massachusetts.

Northampton Fire Chief John Davine said they were grateful for the opportunity.

“We’re really proud to have this flag here and to honor these people,” he said.

The team was placed inside the fire department, giving first responder veterans and others a chance to honor and reflect on the dead.

Brian Miller, a veteran who is director of the state section of Honor and Remember, had the honor of owning the team for his Sunday afternoon trip. He shared with Western Mass News that the flag was donated to the Port Authority of New York after the September 11 attacks. It flew between the North and South Towers until November 2, 2001, when it was dismantled.

“For us and these firefighters, it symbolizes even if there are brothers and sisters who perished in the towers or in the Pentagon or brothers and sisters in the army that we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, we care and we remember and we care about their memory and show the public that’s what we fight for that’s what the military is that’s what we do so we have our freedoms,” Miller said.

“This flag means I can describe what it means to me,” said Jordan Lemieux.

Lemieux was also part of the Sunday afternoon procession. He was called in to respond to the New York attack and told Western Mass News it was a day he will never forget.

“What you saw on TV was just a fingerprint of how shocking it was, that’s the best way to describe it… The loss of life, not just the firefighters, the police, you know, human life, it’s amazing that you can’t describe it,” he said.

The Northampton Fire Department will be in possession of the flag until 9 a.m. Monday morning.