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World Trade Center survivor is one of dozens of flag assemblers for exhibit on Art Hill

ST. LOUIS – In less than two months, Saint-Louis and the rest of the world will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11. But volunteers are already gathering to build a memorial on Art Hill in Forest Park.

Unlike most of the other volunteers, Krista Salvatore’s 9/11 story is about survival.

“I was at the World Trade Center. I was in Tower 2 on the 61st floor when Tower 1 was hit. We started to evacuate and I was on the 24th floor when Tower 2 was hit,” said Salvatore.

As she exited the building safely, she watched emergency crews come inside.

“I really struggled with the survivor’s guilt. On September 11, I was 22 and had no family. I had a hard time understanding why I was doing well and so many people who had careers, families and loved ones who relied on them weren’t doing well. “

To honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died on September 11 and remember the military personnel who died fighting the war on terror, Salvatore helps assemble flags for Valor flags, a weeklong event hosted by America’s Heartland Remembers.

“Each flag represents a person, and each person has a story and a family,” she said.

Starting September 4, hand-assembled flags in St. Louis will fly over Art Hill in Forest Park. Each flag will carry a set of identity plates with the names of fallen servicemen.

“It’s important to me that September 11 doesn’t just become a date in history or a bumper sticker or something we read in the history books,” Salvatore said. “It’s so part of the life of so many families and they have lost so many loved ones – it’s just important to remember that.”

The exhibit will be in place until September 12, and the flags will then be posted to the families of the deceased.

Anyone interested in sponsor a flag is invited to donate $ 50 to America’s Heartland Remembers, which will cover the cost of shipping the flags to Gold Star families across the United States.

Members of Gold Star families who want the flag of their loved ones should also contact the organization.