NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The North Little Rock Fire Department was recently given a special American flag from an unexpected source.
There’s a new stars and stripes at Station Seven in North Little Rock.
The Old Glory flew proudly at a construction site in the city managed by Al “Big Al” Burleson of Embree Construction.
But it’s not just any red, white, and blue.
“It has the times that the first tower got hit and the second tower got hit and it has a plaque stating, ‘9/11: We Remember,'” Burleson said.
It’s meant to look like another flag.
“She’s pretty rattered (sic), tattered and torn, so I retired her,” said Burleson.
It’s the flag Big Al had with him in New York City on that fateful day.
“She’s got a few years on her,” Big Al said. “This one’s 22 years old.”
Big Al saw the second tower catch fire.
“Basically, that was the end of the day for everybody,” Burleson said. “Everybody’s heart dropped. Everybody cried and we all went home.”
So now Big Al flies a fresh flag at every new city he works in, and when the time comes for the fire inspection, he presents the flag to the firehouse that will oversee the property.
The guys at Station Seven were given that honor.
“It’ll hang in this station until this place closes down,” said Capt. Tony Shaw of the NLR Fire Department.
“They put their heart out there, they put their lives on the line every day,” Big Al said.
It’s about paying tribute to the heroes we lost back then.
“Every day that they walk by that flag, they’re gonna see the same thing I see,” Big Al said. “We remember.”
And the heroes who are still with us today.
“I’m not doing this for the glory or anything like that,” Capt. Shaw said.
But it is nice to be appreciated and to be a part of history.
“I’m proud of all these guys and what they do,” Big Al said.
Big Al says he’s given away five American flags to fire departments across the country.