When the native New Yorker's family could not find a flag after the terrorist attacks, Curtin crocheted one, but that was no simple task. Diabetes stole most of her eyesight, her independence, and self-confidence.
"I lost the purpose of being here anymore," she said.
However, other people wanted Curtin's weeping American flag. Her homemade flag hit a patriotic chord. Following WRAL's story in 2001 and other media reports, orders flooded in from across the country, from FBI agents at ground zero to mothers in Minnesota.
"It's people calling and getting to know you and then wanting to share what you can share with them," Curtin said.
Curtin even received letters from the White House and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
"I can sit here making the flags and think about a letter I got from somebody and the tears just come," she said. "That's why I'm here -- to make this flag for people."
Although it takes an entire day for Currin to make a flag, she refused to charge more than $10 -- $5 for supplies and $5 for the victims of Sept. 11.
Curtin said she wants to carry her mission one final step. She hopes to raise enough money to go to New York, meet firefighters and police officers and hand the money she raised to a needy family.
"This is just part of me now," she said.
Curtin still has nearly 200 more flag orders to fill. She is not taking any new orders. If she can raise the travel money, she plans go to New York for the Sept. 11 anniversary.
Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.