Marines raise flag that flew at Trade Center

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A giant U.S. flag that flew over New York's ground zero and was scrawled with the names of victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks was raised Tuesday by Marines at their base at Kandahar airport.

The flag was given to the Marines by the New York Police Department in the hopes that it would be flown over Afghanistan, said Col. Andrew W. Frick of Task Force 58.

After a single blast on a police whistle, a four-man color guard raised the flag on a makeshift pole in the glass-scattered courtyard of the main terminal building at the airport outside the southern city of Kandahar. About 30 Marines and sailors, along representatives of coalition forces, stood at attention.

"They took 23 great cops. Pay back time," read one unsigned note among the numerous messages written in the red and white stripes of the flag by relatives of victims, fellow policemen and others.

In the white stars of the flag's blue field were written the names of the police officers who died in the World Trade Center attack, as well as those of 17 sailors killed in an October 2000 suicide bombing against the Navy ship USS Cole in Yemen.

Both attacks have been blamed on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terror network, the main targets in the U.S. campaign in Afghan-istan.

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