Albertville Receives Flag Flown in Iraq on September 11, 2011
ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – An American flag flown in Iraq during the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks has a new home in Albertville.
Lieutenant colonel Dolph Southerland presented the flag to the town’s museum Friday morning.
Southerland’s father was also in the military so he grew up in many different cities, but he moved to Albertville as a teenager and graduated from Boaz High School.
On his third tour of duty in the Middle East, he was in command of about 500 soldiers and was in Balad, Iraq, on September 11, 2011.
“We decided that we would hang a flag every hour to commemorate 9-11, so the last flag that we flew on that particular day I decided to earmark to donate to [the Albertville Museum],” Southerland said.
The museum opened last year, and Southerland’s step-mother, Myra, is on the board.
He proudly presented the flag to the mayor and the board members.
“It’s overwhelming for me, I didn’t expect for this kind of a crowd to be here to present,” he said.
His family most recently lived in Texas and are in the process of a move to Washington, D.C., but Southerland calls Sand Mountain home and has many old friends here.
“I remember Dolph,” museum board chairman George Wells said.
“I was at his wedding at the First Baptist Church here, and to my knowledge this is the first time i’ve seen him since then.”
Wells served in the military during the Korean War and has many relatives who were also in the Armed Forces.
The flag has extra significance to him.
“I’m grateful that he brought this stuff to us, and it’s going to be a real shot in the arm for this little museum,” he said.
“We just had to start with what we had and go.”
It will be a center piece as they expand with more displays.
“I just wanted to kind of recognize the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines of the 9/11 generation, that have served in support of the war on terror,” Southerland said.
“Their professionalism and tenacity over the last 10 years have been unbelievable.”