Looking over a photograph of retired Army Col. David Brostrom, whose son was killed in action in Afghanistan, Jeff Parness couldn't help but zero in on Bromstrom's expression.
His lips pursed, Brostrom appears to be fighting back tears, his gaze lost in the field of stars and stripes on the National 9/11 Flag sprawled out before him in Hawaii last month.
"Take a look at the expression on David's face," said Parness, the founder of New York Says Thank You Foundation. "And try to imagine for a second what must have been going through David's mind, and his heart, at that moment."
Parness, whose foundation is taking a U.S. flag recovered from ground zero across the country, added, "This is what the 50-state National 9/11 Flag Restoration Tour is all about."
On Dec. 7, Brostrom did his part to help repair the flag during a stitching ceremony at U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor.
Ashen, tattered and blowing in the wind, the torn flag that would become the National 9/11 Flag was recovered after the World Trade Center crumbled.
For several months, New York Says Thank You Foundation has traveled the country on a tour designed to restitch the flag to its original glory. The first stop on the epic tour was Mena, Ark. Click here to read more about other stops in the journey. After the flag makes its way across America, it will return to New York City, where it will be added to the permanent collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
The mission of Parness' foundation is the focus of a documentary film to be released this year that is titled "New York Says Thank You." Here's the movie trailer.
By Michael Frazier, Sr. Communications Manager for the 9/11 Memorial