INDIANAPOLIS — A familiar sight greeted drivers on the northwest side of Indianapolis Monday morning.
James Clark returned to the I-465 overpass on 56th Street to wave an American flag in remembrance of those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He waved at cars that passed by; many of the drivers honked their horns to signal their support.
Clark has been doing it for more than 20 years.
“On 9/11, like everybody else, we were collectively in a state of chaos and confusion. We were angry. We were filled with a lot of hate, but in the midst of that, there was also love and hope,” he said.
Clark recalled seeing a clip on a cable news channel of a man holding a stick with a flag on it. The man was crying and displaying profound grief; the image touched Clark’s heart and inspired him to do something.
“I think of men like Frank De Martini and Pablo Ortiz. These were two men who worked at Tower One and came together. They went back inside Tower One six times and extracted 57 people,” Clark said. “And on their last attempt, their seventh occasion going into the tower, the tower came down around Frank and Pablo, and killed them both.”
Clark continued, “To do the difficult thing, to go back inside those towers, and put their lives in danger—in most cases for total strangers—I’m in awe of whatever it is inside a human being that allows them to do that.”
Clark said it’s an “easy thing” for him to honor their memories by holding a flag for a few hours.