9/11

Cecil Whig - - WE ATHE R -

by the His­tory Chan­nel and one by law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties. In the end, a com­bi­na­tion of foren­sic sci­ence and DNA con­cluded it was the flag and it has since been put on dis­play at the Na­tional Septem­ber 11 Me­mo­rial & Mu­seum.

Panagop­u­los said he filmed his in­ter­views in Man­hat­tan about a year ago with the in­ten­tion of air­ing the hour­long show last year. A de­lay in the air­ing, how­ever, left time for pro­duc­ers to in­clude the new­found DNA ev­i­dence of ground zero dust found on the tape of the dis­cov­ered flag rig­ging and in the process, Panagop­u­los’ tes­ti­mony was cut to a few shorter sound­bites.

“Be­fore the DNA test­ing was com­pleted, I think it re­lied more upon my tes­ti­mony,” he said this week, not­ing that be­cause he’s worked at sea he has a strong knowl­edge of flag rig­ging to go along with his ex­pe­ri­ence in au­then­ti­cat­ing ar­ti­facts.

Panagop­u­los said he stud­ied the hal­yard, fix­ing de­vices and elec­tri­cal tape com­pared to photo en­large­ments of the iconic Thomas Franklin photo dur­ing his tap­ing.

“No­body else could have rigged the flag up this badly,” he said. “I don’t think it could have been as con­vinc­ingly copied. It all adds up. I was very cer­tain this was the flag and I es­ti­mated it to be worth mil­lions, but it’s re­ally price­less.”

Panagop­u­los was about 20 miles away at his Stam­ford, Conn., of­fice when the Twin Tow­ers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. He said he could stand out­side his door and see the smoke and the dust ris­ing all day. While he didn’t know any­one who died on 9/11, he did have friends who were in the build­ing that day and got out, and he worked in the South Tower for a cou­ple months ear­lier in his life.

Those con­nec­tions made his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the His­tory Chan­nel pro­gram all that more mem­o­rable, Panagop­u­los said.

“It was very spe­cial and sat­is­fy­ing to be a part of such a pro­gram,” he said. “I’m glad that the flag ended up where it be­longs and not in the hands of a col­lec­tor.”

While there are no TV air­ings of the pro­gram sched­uled cur­rently, those in­ter­ested can watch ”Amer­ica’s 9/11 Flag: Rise From the Ashes” on www.his­tory. com.

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