Joplin helps repair flag saved after 9/11 attacks

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A tattered American flag found near ground zero made its final stop of a 50-state tour today in Joplin, Mo.

The 20-by-30 flag, which has become a symbol of hope, was recovered by a former ground zero construction supervisor. Charlie Vitchers held onto it until three years ago when he and the founder of the New York Says Thank You Foundation, Jeff Parness, took it to Greensburg, Kan., after a deadly tornado.

That's where the flag stitching began, followed by trips to the Fort Hood military base in Texas, the Kentucky Derby, Mount Rushmore, New Orleans and other American landmarks or disaster sites. At each stop, people would sew pieces of their own flags that had been destroyed onto the 9/11 flag.

Today's ceremony in Joplin, where at least 160 people died in a May 22 tornado, coincided with when the World Trade Centers were hit.

Once restored, the flag will go to the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan.