This is going to be a long post but I truly hope you will read all the way to the end and look at everything here and perhaps even feel moved to join us! Many of you know that Sophia and I have a heart for this organization and have traveled with it taking pictures not only to document but to inspire. New York Says Thank You is an organization that has grown from not just a child's desire to help but that child's parents willingness to listen and help fulfill that desire. Many of us teach our children the benefits of caring, sharing and helping our neighbor. How many of us listen to them when they want to do those things but  need our help because, after all, they are small and most often can't do it alone. Many of us, including myself, are just too busy. We say things like,  "That's so nice honey." "I'm sure they would appreciate your kindness." Yada yada yada. Well, Evan and Josh Parness' parents didn't say that and go on about their business. They live in Manhattan. They lived in Manhattan on 9/11. They lost friends that day in the greatest disaster our country has ever known on our own soil. People from all 50 states rushed to help New York during that time. It was talked about in the Parness home. When the California wild fires devastated that state and destroyed so many homes,  5 year old Evan watched on TV and told his dad he and his little brother Josh wanted to take all their toys to the kids in California whose homes had been burned and toys had been lost. Just like people helped New Yorkers when the towers fell. It would have been easy for Jeff Parness to say, "That's so nice honey." "I'm sure they would appreciate your kindness." Yada yada yada. and go on about his life. BUT -- and this is a BIG BUT - he didn't. He got a truck, collected toys and things, and with his boys, drove to California to help. To PAY IT FORWARD and to say THANK YOU. From that gesture, an entire organization was born. A PAY IT FORWARD organization with the focus not on what happened on 9/11 but what happened on 9/12 when everyone joined together to help each other. To help America. In 2008, Sophia and I met Jeff Parness in Ft.Worth (funny side story there) and he invited us to come to Greensburg, KS the next month. It was fall wedding season and we were booked to the max and already behind in our work, but we both felt pulled to go. We drove to Greensburg and were so glad we did. It changed our lives. Greensburg had been devastated by an F5 tornado. By devastated I mean virtually wiped off the map. It was a sea of FEMA trailers and a few metal barn-like structures. One of the only buildings left standing was the senior citizen center. It was there that the flag that had hung at 90 West street in NYC on 9/11, started to come back to life. The construction foreman, Charlie Vitchers, had removed the tattered and smoke stained American flag from ground zero with the intention of properly retiring it. He never burned it. It sat in his NY home for years until he brought it to Greensburg. There the ladies living in the senior center spread it out on a big table and started stitching it back together. Where pieces where missing, they decided to use pieces of the flags that had survived the tornado to patch it. It looked a little like a crazy quilt of flags at first but that effort sparked the restoration of that flag. The National 9/11 Flag. It's now made a tour around all 50 states and DC with stitches put into by Americans throughout the country - all with stories of hope, survival and resilience. It is our symbol of freedom. It unifies us as Americans and no matter what your personal situations or opinions are, when the flag is flown and The Star Spangled Banner is played, we all stand with respect and unity. So it was only fitting that the last stitches to complete the restoration of this enormous American flag be put in at The Star Spangled Banner museum and Flaghouse in Baltimore, MD on June 14, 2012 - Flag Day. The museum donated threads from the original flag that was flown during the War of 1812, which Frances Scott Key saw through the bars of his imprisonment, and penned the poem that became our national anthem. Want to be a part of this? Keep reading.

Sophia really captured the enormity of the National 9/11 flag from inside the Flag House. Wow!
NYSTYBaltimore-101.jpg

NYSTYBaltimore-102.jpg
The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore
NYSTYBaltimore-103.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-104.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-105.jpg
These are the threads from the original 1812 flag donated to the National 9/11 flag. The 1812 Flag is on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
NYSTYBaltimore-106.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-107.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-108.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-110.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-109.jpgThese boy scouts are doing service work at the Flag House as part of their Eagle Badge requirement. 
NYSTYBaltimore-111.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-112.jpgSome of New York's finest! FDNY
NYSTYBaltimore-113.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-115.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-116.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-117.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-119.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-118.jpgThis woman portrays Mary Pickersgill who was commissioned by the US Army to sew the enormous American flag in 1812 which inspired the Star Spangled Banner. She was overcome with emotion at stitching those threads into the 9/11 flag.
NYSTYBaltimore-120.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-122.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-121.jpgCharlie Vitchers and his sister, Veronica, put final stitches in the 9/11 flag. Thank you for saving this incredible piece of American history which will serve as an inspiration and testament to the unwavering strength of the American spirit.
NYSTYBaltimore-123.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-124.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-125.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-126.jpgCarolyn and Denny Deters joined NYSTY after the annual build went to Iowa. They have traveled with the flag ever since, insuring it's safety and completion. They put some of the final stitches in it today. Thank you Deters for your undying loyalty and service. Love you!
NYSTYBaltimore-127.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-128.jpgSerenity and Jamie from Tuscon, Arizona stitched the 9/11 flag for their best friend, Christina Taylor Green, killed in the shooting of US Representative Gabby Giffords. Christina was born on 9/11 but always told everyone she was born on a holiday because she wasn't going to let terrorists claim her birthday. She was very interested in politics already and wanted to make this country a better place. Her two best friends are going to carry on her legacy.  NYSTYBaltimore-129.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-130.jpgEvan and Josh Parness whose generosity and desire to help mankind started a revolution of pay-it-forward kindness and has touched and inspired millions to do the same.
NYSTYBaltimore-131.jpgAll the children present at the ceremony were allowed to stitch the flag. Children are our legacy and the key to peace in the world. New York Says Thank You -the movie, which was shown at film festivals all over last year, has been made into an educational version to be used in the schools to promote kindness, community service and peace.
NYSTYBaltimore-132.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-133.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-134.jpgThese women lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack.
NYSTYBaltimore-135.jpgLove this shot Sophia took through the flag wall of the 9/11 flag being stitched.
NYSTYBaltimore-136.jpg The National 9/11 Flag has been officially recognized as such and will have a permanent display in the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. I hope you will make it a point to go pay your respects and to teach your children to focus not on what happened on 9/11 but what happened on 9/12. NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU!

Ready to get involved? Perhaps you're planning to spend yet another Labor Day at the lake or mowing your yard. STOP! Wanna change your life instead?  Every year on the weekend BEFORE 9/11, New York Says Thank You travels to another American city where disaster has left its mark. Children place stars of Hope all along the streets, and several rebuilding projects are begun. This takes an enormous amount of orchestration, money, and muscle! In other words - IT'S HAMMER TIME! We can use any skills you have and some you don't even know about yet. This year, the build is in North Dakota. First a house in Bottineau to teach disabled children and wounded warriors to ski and then in Minot, to rebuild a house of a first responder whose house was swept away in the 100 year floods while he was helping others try to save their homes. That flood destroyed 4,000 homes in Minot and their community needs hope they can all rebuild. New York Says Thank You is going to start that project! Stars of Hope throughout Minot will be Wedesday 9/5 thru Saturday 9/8. Children can participate in this part of the project and will have a blast doing so. The home building in Minot is set for 9/4 or 9/5 and all hands are needed. The build then moves to Bottineau Thursday 9/6 thru Sunday 9/9. There are always tons of things to do after dark and lots of fun all day long.  Sophia and I are trying to get a charter trip together for all Oklahomans interested in Paying it Forward. We certainly have our share of disasters here and know how demoralizing it can be to a community who suffers one. If you are interested in joining us, please let me know asap so we can get a count and get the ball rolling on accommodations. If you've been looking for a family adventure that will bring you all closer than you've ever been before, look no further. It will be some of the hardest work you've ever done but you won't even notice. JUST DO IT. Don't yada yada yada yourself any longer.  Join the groups from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas, California, Indiana, Georgia, New York and many other states and take this opportunity to be thankful, grateful and American.

Email us at info@lsdphotos.com for more information or go straight to NewYorkSaysThankYou.org

If you can't possibly join us, we'd LOVE to have a donation for building supplies and expenses of the build!




This is going to be a long post but I truly hope you will read all the way to the end and look at everything here and perhaps even feel moved to join us! Many of you know that Sophia and I have a heart for this organization and have traveled with it taking pictures not only to document but to inspire. New York Says Thank You is an organization that has grown from not just a child's desire to help but that child's parents willingness to listen and help fulfill that desire. Many of us teach our children the benefits of caring, sharing and helping our neighbor. How many of us listen to them when they want to do those things but  need our help because, after all, they are small and most often can't do it alone. Many of us, including myself, are just too busy. We say things like,  "That's so nice honey." "I'm sure they would appreciate your kindness." Yada yada yada. Well, Evan and Josh Parness' parents didn't say that and go on about their business. They live in Manhattan. They lived in Manhattan on 9/11. They lost friends that day in the greatest disaster our country has ever known on our own soil. People from all 50 states rushed to help New York during that time. It was talked about in the Parness home. When the California wild fires devastated that state and destroyed so many homes,  5 year old Evan watched on TV and told his dad he and his little brother Josh wanted to take all their toys to the kids in California whose homes had been burned and toys had been lost. Just like people helped New Yorkers when the towers fell. It would have been easy for Jeff Parness to say, "That's so nice honey." "I'm sure they would appreciate your kindness." Yada yada yada. and go on about his life. BUT -- and this is a BIG BUT - he didn't. He got a truck, collected toys and things, and with his boys, drove to California to help. To PAY IT FORWARD and to say THANK YOU. From that gesture, an entire organization was born. A PAY IT FORWARD organization with the focus not on what happened on 9/11 but what happened on 9/12 when everyone joined together to help each other. To help America. In 2008, Sophia and I met Jeff Parness in Ft.Worth (funny side story there) and he invited us to come to Greensburg, KS the next month. It was fall wedding season and we were booked to the max and already behind in our work, but we both felt pulled to go. We drove to Greensburg and were so glad we did. It changed our lives. Greensburg had been devastated by an F5 tornado. By devastated I mean virtually wiped off the map. It was a sea of FEMA trailers and a few metal barn-like structures. One of the only buildings left standing was the senior citizen center. It was there that the flag that had hung at 90 West street in NYC on 9/11, started to come back to life. The construction foreman, Charlie Vitchers, had removed the tattered and smoke stained American flag from ground zero with the intention of properly retiring it. He never burned it. It sat in his NY home for years until he brought it to Greensburg. There the ladies living in the senior center spread it out on a big table and started stitching it back together. Where pieces where missing, they decided to use pieces of the flags that had survived the tornado to patch it. It looked a little like a crazy quilt of flags at first but that effort sparked the restoration of that flag. The National 9/11 Flag. It's now made a tour around all 50 states and DC with stitches put into by Americans throughout the country - all with stories of hope, survival and resilience. It is our symbol of freedom. It unifies us as Americans and no matter what your personal situations or opinions are, when the flag is flown and The Star Spangled Banner is played, we all stand with respect and unity. So it was only fitting that the last stitches to complete the restoration of this enormous American flag be put in at The Star Spangled Banner museum and Flaghouse in Baltimore, MD on June 14, 2012 - Flag Day. The museum donated threads from the original flag that was flown during the War of 1812, which Frances Scott Key saw through the bars of his imprisonment, and penned the poem that became our national anthem. Want to be a part of this? Keep reading.

Sophia really captured the enormity of the National 9/11 flag from inside the Flag House. Wow!
NYSTYBaltimore-101.jpg

NYSTYBaltimore-102.jpg
The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore
NYSTYBaltimore-103.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-104.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-105.jpg
These are the threads from the original 1812 flag donated to the National 9/11 flag. The 1812 Flag is on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
NYSTYBaltimore-106.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-107.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-108.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-110.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-109.jpgThese boy scouts are doing service work at the Flag House as part of their Eagle Badge requirement. 
NYSTYBaltimore-111.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-112.jpgSome of New York's finest! FDNY
NYSTYBaltimore-113.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-115.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-116.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-117.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-119.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-118.jpgThis woman portrays Mary Pickersgill who was commissioned by the US Army to sew the enormous American flag in 1812 which inspired the Star Spangled Banner. She was overcome with emotion at stitching those threads into the 9/11 flag.
NYSTYBaltimore-120.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-122.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-121.jpgCharlie Vitchers and his sister, Veronica, put final stitches in the 9/11 flag. Thank you for saving this incredible piece of American history which will serve as an inspiration and testament to the unwavering strength of the American spirit.
NYSTYBaltimore-123.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-124.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-125.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-126.jpgCarolyn and Denny Deters joined NYSTY after the annual build went to Iowa. They have traveled with the flag ever since, insuring it's safety and completion. They put some of the final stitches in it today. Thank you Deters for your undying loyalty and service. Love you!
NYSTYBaltimore-127.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-128.jpgSerenity and Jamie from Tuscon, Arizona stitched the 9/11 flag for their best friend, Christina Taylor Green, killed in the shooting of US Representative Gabby Giffords. Christina was born on 9/11 but always told everyone she was born on a holiday because she wasn't going to let terrorists claim her birthday. She was very interested in politics already and wanted to make this country a better place. Her two best friends are going to carry on her legacy.  NYSTYBaltimore-129.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-130.jpgEvan and Josh Parness whose generosity and desire to help mankind started a revolution of pay-it-forward kindness and has touched and inspired millions to do the same.
NYSTYBaltimore-131.jpgAll the children present at the ceremony were allowed to stitch the flag. Children are our legacy and the key to peace in the world. New York Says Thank You -the movie, which was shown at film festivals all over last year, has been made into an educational version to be used in the schools to promote kindness, community service and peace.
NYSTYBaltimore-132.jpgNYSTYBaltimore-133.jpg
NYSTYBaltimore-134.jpgThese women lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack.
NYSTYBaltimore-135.jpgLove this shot Sophia took through the flag wall of the 9/11 flag being stitched.
NYSTYBaltimore-136.jpg The National 9/11 Flag has been officially recognized as such and will have a permanent display in the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. I hope you will make it a point to go pay your respects and to teach your children to focus not on what happened on 9/11 but what happened on 9/12. NEW YORK SAYS THANK YOU!

Ready to get involved? Perhaps you're planning to spend yet another Labor Day at the lake or mowing your yard. STOP! Wanna change your life instead?  Every year on the weekend BEFORE 9/11, New York Says Thank You travels to another American city where disaster has left its mark. Children place stars of Hope all along the streets, and several rebuilding projects are begun. This takes an enormous amount of orchestration, money, and muscle! In other words - IT'S HAMMER TIME! We can use any skills you have and some you don't even know about yet. This year, the build is in North Dakota. First a house in Bottineau to teach disabled children and wounded warriors to ski and then in Minot, to rebuild a house of a first responder whose house was swept away in the 100 year floods while he was helping others try to save their homes. That flood destroyed 4,000 homes in Minot and their community needs hope they can all rebuild. New York Says Thank You is going to start that project! Stars of Hope throughout Minot will be Wedesday 9/5 thru Saturday 9/8. Children can participate in this part of the project and will have a blast doing so. The home building in Minot is set for 9/4 or 9/5 and all hands are needed. The build then moves to Bottineau Thursday 9/6 thru Sunday 9/9. There are always tons of things to do after dark and lots of fun all day long.  Sophia and I are trying to get a charter trip together for all Oklahomans interested in Paying it Forward. We certainly have our share of disasters here and know how demoralizing it can be to a community who suffers one. If you are interested in joining us, please let me know asap so we can get a count and get the ball rolling on accommodations. If you've been looking for a family adventure that will bring you all closer than you've ever been before, look no further. It will be some of the hardest work you've ever done but you won't even notice. JUST DO IT. Don't yada yada yada yourself any longer.  Join the groups from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas, California, Indiana, Georgia, New York and many other states and take this opportunity to be thankful, grateful and American.

Email us at info@lsdphotos.com for more information or go straight to NewYorkSaysThankYou.org

If you can't possibly join us, we'd LOVE to have a donation for building supplies and expenses of the build!






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