9/11 memorial flag deployed on Key West shipwreck

American flag attached to historic shipwreck by divers

(Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau)

KEY WEST, Fla. – A huge American flag was unfurled and attached to a historic shipwreck by divers in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on this July Fourth holiday weekend.

The 30- by 40-foot flag formerly flew at a Morris, Illinois, memorial park for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, New York City terrorists' attack, but the flag was scheduled for retirement after being badly tattered by weather, according to the Florida Keys News Bureau.

Morris attorney Scott Belt had conceived the idea of mending the flag by reducing its original 60-foot width and deploying it on the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg -- a former Army troop transporter and Navy missile-tracking ship that was scuttled in 145 feet of water -- about seven miles south of Key West in May 2009.

The Florida Keys News Bureau reports the Vandenberg once tracked space launches off Cape Canaveral, Fla., and monitored Soviet missile launches during the Cold War, was added to a list of military vessels purposely sunk off the Florida Keys to become an artificial reef.