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A symbol of American strength since 1776, the "Stars and Stripes" have seen the country through good times and tragedy.

For the past few years, a 32-foot flag that once flew above the World Trade Center has been part of rebuilding efforts throughout the nation, thanks to the New York Says Thank You Foundation.

Now that flag is traveling to each of the 50 states to be re-stitched state-by-state.

The flag is being touted as a way "To deepen our sense of citizenship and national pride," the foundation stated.

Wednesday, that flag made a brief stop at Camp Cedars near Cedar Bluffs on its way to Lincoln to be re-stitched today at the State Capitol.

Denny Deters of Glenwood, Iowa, is the Flag Restoration and Protocol expert for the organization and is traveling with the flag and overseeing its restoration.

Deters was the reservation director at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch when it was destroyed by a tornado June 8, 2008, and asked the foundation if there was any way he could assist after the group visited Little Sioux to help their rebuilding efforts in September 2008.

"Now, I'm involved with it up to my neck," Deters said with a smile after beginning the tour in 2010.

Deters spends his days traveling from state-to-state overseeing the patching of the flag in an attempt to once again make it whole.

"It's patched with flags that are no longer fit to be flown," Deters said, "I make sure it's done correctly and within flag code."

Deter will oversee the stitching in Lincoln which is done by local heroes and others who are nominated online.

For Deter, this process holds a special spot in his heart.

"We can't rebuild the towers. We can't rebuild the cabin where the (Little Sioux) boys died, but we can rebuild the symbol," he said. "It's very powerful, very humbling."

Deter made a stop at Camp Cedars after the flag's stop at Greensberg, Kan., last weekend yielded some unexpected results.

"I have a lot of ties with Camp Cedars," he said. However, "it was an unplanned stop."

He added it was a wide open space where he could unfurl the flag on top of tables in their dining hall and remeasure and adjust to last weekend's result.

"The flag occasionally needs to be laid out for mapping and planning," he said.

Today, a new patch in the flag will be stitched under the supervision of Deter at the Capitol Rotunda around 1:30 p.m. Deter noted the flag will be on display for the public 2-4 p.m.

"The whole thing is not about the flag, it's about the people," he said, "It's about giving people across the country a chance to help rebuild this flag."


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