KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, veterinary officer for the 734th ADT, teaches Kunar Women's Shura member Sohila how to tie (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – TF White Eagle doctors wash an Afghan woman`s burned leg to prepare her for further treatment. (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Two Afghan girls peek out of a schoolhouse window in the town of Kachur Jan. 15. (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A town barber trims the beard of a village elder in the town of Kotalay Jan. 10. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Heather Eberle of Altoona, Iowa, combat medic with the 734th ADT, makes friends with Afghan children inside their home compound in (click for more)
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William R. Haley (left), fills out paperwork while U.S. Army Spc. Joshua A. Knaack looks on. Both are Sioux City, (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Ryan B. Stuart of Brooklyn Park, Minn., assigned to Task Force Storm, provides security for Afghan National Security Forces in Kharwar (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Members of the 1st Coy, 1st Kandak ANA prepare to disrupt and prevent insurgents from planting an IED on a road near Tatanak Village in Zormat (click for more)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mohammed Anwar, the cousin of a shop owner in Mata Khan District, sews a scarf here Jan. 10. (click for more)
It’s an act performed everyday by U.S. Soldiers across Afghanistan and, indeed, across the world.
This flag, however, is different. It’s one that has flown at Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11 and holds special meaning to the 404th Soldiers, based out of Fort Dix, N.J., many of whom are from the New Jersey and New York areas.
The flag has been traveling around Regional Command – East, visiting FOBs while in the care of U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michelle Fournier of New York City, 404th Civil Affairs Bn., who has been the keeper of those colors since March 1, 2010.
The flag will be returned to Ground Zero in July and put on display at the Ground Zero Museum. Certificates of Freedom from each group the flag visited will be inducted into the museum along with the flag.
“The flag is symbolic of America and the strength of Americans,” Fournier said.
For many of the Soldiers in the 404th, the flag represents a day that has been burned into their memory. U.S. Army Maj. Paul Ferreira, commander of Company B, 404th and a resident of New York City, grew up in the shadow of the World Trade Center. He said he watched it fall Sept. 11, and lost friends when it came down.
Ferreira said this was the first time he’d seen the WTC flag raised while in Afghanistan. The flag held personal meaning for him, he added.
He wasn’t the only one who remembered where he was that day.
U.S. Army Lt. Col Teresa Wolfgang, 404th commander and a resident of New York City, said she was in Dallas when the planes hit. Her uncle worked in the Pentagon and had left work 40 minutes before the plane hit, destroying his office.
Wolfgang said being stewards of the flag is a great obligation for her battalion, and one undertaken with pride. They try to get the flag to as many FOBs as possible and are often greeted with gratitude by Soldiers who simply want to see the flag or take photos with it.
“It’s important for it to make the rounds because 9/11 is where it all started,” Wolfgang said. “We always have to remember how this started so we can continue forward.”
“Circulating the flag shows the attacks of 9/11 haven’t diminished what the American flag stands for,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Dennis Hicks of New York City.
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