An American flag stolen from the Long Island family of a firefighter who died on 9/11 was returned Friday, the Fourth of July. The apologetic thief left the flag on the family’s doorstep, neatly folded in a triangle with a note attached.
“I am so sorry,” the note read. “I had no idea.”
The flag that once flew over the World Trade Center ruins had been given to the fallen firefighter’s sister. It was pilfered last Monday from the Huntington Station home of Melissa Ielpi-Brengel.
Brengel reported the missing flag on Tuesday.
Via NBC News:
The flag is particularly special to Brengel and was given to her by the September 11th Families Association.
“We put it out during certain times of the year just to remember,” she said.
Brengel’s brother Jonathan Ielpi was a 29-year-old FDNY firefighter working out of Squad 288 in Queens when he died on Sept. 11.
When something is stolen, one rarely anticipates getting their pilfered item back. Although no one knows what caused the thief to reconsider his actions, it is possible he heard the reports of the stolen flag and, upon hearing of its significance, decided to return it.
“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,” said Brengel.
No one can refute the perfect timing of the flag’s return. The Brengel family was able to celebrate America’s independence as they remembered the life of their brave firefighter who gave his life to save the lives of others.
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