Anniversary Story

The Stars and Stripes

American flags painted on HITT building

Our pride for the red, white, and blue is always evident, but never more so than in the wake of the September 11 attacks. On that fateful Tuesday, HITT team members reported for work at our project site at the Pentagon. When the plane hit, our team members were working both inside the building and in a trailer outside. Gratefully, each and every HITT team member made it out safely that day, but our hearts ached knowing that many did not. 

“Jim and I felt a need to do something immediately, to show we stand behind our country,” shared Co-Chairman Brett Hitt. Together the two approached Vice President Jerry Orr, who oversaw the paint and service department at the time, asking him to paint American flags on two sides of our office, including the one facing Interstate 66—one of the most traveled routes into and out of Washington, DC. 

After measuring and marking the dimensions for the flag, Jerry and Jim O’Brien, a now-retired paint superintendent, picked up plenty of red, white, and blue paint and got to work. As the flags took shape, drivers began honking in support. “It was an emotional time as an American,” Jerry recalled. “Typically paint jobs are paint jobs. This one left a mark on me.” 

A week after 9-11, the flags were complete. In the days that followed, calls and notes flooded in thanking HITT for the show of patriotism and continued to trickle in for years after. “While it was never our intention, those flags became our calling card,” Brett noted.