A photograph taken by a freelance journalist in California depicting three firefighters rescuing an American flag in the middle of a raging wildfire has attained virality this week, with some even pointing out its visual semblance to such iconic images as Joe Rosenthal’s “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” and Thomas E. Franklin’s “Raising the Flag at Ground Zero.”
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) July 10, 2017
One of its subjects, Cal Fire first responder Scott Crumrine, is a United States Marine veteran. In an interview with local station KCRA, the veteran described how his military service helped influence the moment when he, fellow firemen Jason Hawkins and another unidentified associate decided to rescue Old Glory from the encroaching flames of the Butte County “Wall Fire” mere feet away.
“That’s a symbol of freedom and this nation and you should complete respect for that flag,” Crumrine said.
Hawkins said they were about to evacuate the area — after “creating defensible space” — when they noticed something they couldn’t ignore.
“As we were leaving, we happened to glance up and look at the flag, and I told my guys go grab it. We need it to come down.”
According to reports, the trio’s work in battling back the burn proved effective, as the home that flew the flag ultimately was not damaged by the fire. And the flag they saved? It’s back up already.