Exclusive: Brad Meltzer Confirms Recovery of Lost, Iconic Flag From 9/11

In the aftermath of 9/11, firefighters defiantly raised an American flag atop the rubble at Ground Zero. An iconic symbol of the country's strength and resilience, the flag went missing for years. Brad Meltzer, bestselling author and host of Brad Meltzer's Lost History, became obsessed with tracking it down.

"Everyone remembers that on 9/11 at Ground Zero, the firefighters raised that famous flag. And at this moment of heartbreak for our country, here was a moment of hope," Meltzer explained.

What many don't know is that the flag disappeared later that night.

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"So we went on television, the very first episode of Lost History. I told the story. I said, 'Please, if you have it, $10,000 reward. Return it,'" Meltzer said.

That toggled Glenn's memory.

"Hang on just a second. There was a replacement flag that people thought was that flag for a while, wasn't there?" Glenn asked.

Meltzer explained how the flag came down at 11:00 o'clock the night of 9/11, but no knew where it went and assumed the city had taken it down. When images began popping up a few days later, the flag became famous. A flag was signed by the mayor and politicians, raised at Yankee stadium and saluted by U.S. troops --- but it was not the 9/11 flag.

Four days after airing the Lost History episode, a former marine walked into a fire station in Everett, Washington and returned it.

"In Washington State, of all places, across the country. He identifies himself as a former marine and says, 'I don't want your reward. I just want to do the right thing. This is the 9/11 flag, and I want to return it,'" Meltzer said.

The flag went through a lengthy and rigorous testing process before being authenticated and confirmed as the 9/11 flag.

"We officially have found the missing flag from 9/11. It has passed all the tests. It has officially been verified. We, in fact, are unveiling it, and it is now, today, going into the 9/11 museum. It will be unveiled there on display so that you can take your kids and you can take yourself and you can go there to this amazing museum and be inspired. And that was always the real goal --- to finally return it to where it belongs," Meltzer explained.

RELATED: Teen Sees American Flag Falling, Rushes to Keep It From Hitting Ground

"That is fantastic. Just fantastic," Glenn said. "What was the evidence that pushed it over the top?"

Meltzer explained how the dust from Ground Zero is like a fingerprint.

"We had the expert who does those cases for all the firefighters on Ground Zero, people who got cancer, they're experts in this dust. And he said, 'The dust at Ground Zero is like a fingerprint. It's made up of not just a building, but it's made up of jet fuel and made up, Glenn, of human remains.'" Meltzer said.

"Oh, my gosh," Glenn said.

"Oh, man," Co-host Pat Gray exclaimed.

The expert said there was no question the flag was from Ground Zero. Eyewitness testimony also confirmed it's the exact flag raised by firefighters on 9/11. One other key factor was the halyard, the hardware that helps raise the flag.

"Most halyards, they're either gold or they're copper or they're silver and some color. And this halyard was very particular. It was handmade. It was made with two separate pieces, and no one knew that. And you can only see it in our high-definition pictures," Meltzer said.

"Oh, wow. Oh, wow," Glenn responded.

An hour-long special airs this Sunday on the History Channel called The 9/11 Flag: Rise From the Ashes. It details the discovery and investigation.

In addition to the History Channel special, Meltzer has also just released a new children's book from his "Ordinary People Change the World" series.

"This one is I Am George Washington. I read through it, and it's a powerful book. The lesson is on how to be like George Washington," Glenn said.

Don't miss The 9/11 Flag: Rise From the Ashes this Sunday, September 11, on the History Channel at 10:30 p.m. I Am George Washington is available at bookstores everywhere.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Featured Image: An American flag, erected by rescue workers, stands in the wreckage of the World Trade Center September 13, 2001 in New York City, two days after the twin towers were destroyed when two hit by two hijacked passenger jets. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…




Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.