Stolen Flag That Flew Over Ground Zero Returns Home

Flag was left on the doorstep of its Huntington Station home overnight.

The returned flag was accompanied by a note. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Ielpi-Brengel)
The returned flag was accompanied by a note. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Ielpi-Brengel)

I am so sorry. I had no idea. 

Those were the words written on a note that accompanied a neatly folded American flag that was left on a Huntington Station doorstep sometime overnight Thursday. 

The flag, which flew over Ground Zero following 9/11, had been stolen from a flagpole at the home of Melissa Ielpi-Brengel earlier this week. 

Ielpi-Brengel's brother Jonathan Ielpi, a firefighter with FDNY Squad 288 in Queens, died on 9/11, and the flag was one of many given to 9/11 families to fly outside their homes between Memorial Day and July 4, and again on Sept. 11. 

"The flag means so much to me and my family and we are so happy and grateful that it was returned and we are able to display it again, although this time it will be put in a proper case and displayed in the house," Ielpi-Brengel wrote on Facebook. 

Ielpi-Brengel had said she spread the word on the flag theft in the hopes that its special meaning would get back to the thief, which clearly it did. 

"I hope the person or people who took it learned some type of lesson through all of this and that they don't try to pull something like this again," Ielpi-Brengel told Patch on Friday. 

Cindy Livingston July 07, 2014 at 08:30 AM
Wow--I don't feel bad now. Someone took two small flags from our yard on the 4th. I just thought--really?? You steal an American flag? So glad this much more important one was returned.
Glenn July 07, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Unfortunately, too many people are misguided and have no direction in their lives so they get into mischief or trouble and causing pain and suffering for those directed affected by their asinine and irresponsible behavior. Though the flag was returned, it should have never been taken or stolen in the first place. The thieves should not be commended for bringing the flag back but penalized for their thievery. I'm so disguised by this act. Parents, are you truly being parents? Pay more attention to your kids now or pay they bail later.
ce July 07, 2014 at 05:12 PM
Let's put away the tar and feathers. It was clearly wrong to steal the flag, but it was probably a kid on a scavenger hunt. The flag has been returned, and hopefully, a lesson learned.
Dame Bridgid July 08, 2014 at 10:17 AM
I am glad the person who stole this flag had a conscience that just needed a nudge to work properly. My deepest respects to the Ielpi-Brengel family. Your loved one ran into those building when the average person was running out of them. He is among the true heroes who live in our thoughts forever. A blessing on him and his family.


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