September 8, 2016 4:42 PM EDT

The iconic American flag the firefighters hoisted above the rubble of Ground Zero on September 11 has been donated to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in advance of the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

The flag had originally belonged to Shirley Dreifus and her late husband Spiros E. Kopelakis. The flag was taken from their yacht while it was docked in New York City on September 11, according to an ABC News report, and hung above the nearby rubble where photographers captured firefighters raising it. Later, the flag disappeared only to show up in Washington state. The flag’s journey across the country remains a mystery.

Officials from the 9/11 Memorial Museum—where the artifact will be housed—praised the flag’s return regardless. “In the darkest hours of 9/11 when our country was at risk of losing all hope, the raising of this American flag by our first responders helped reaffirm that the nation would endure, would recover and rebuild,” said memorial president Joe Daniels in a statement.


Write to Justin Worland at

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