The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened May 21 in New York. Given its location, built into the footprint of the Twin Towers, the museum most vividly reflects the attacks on the World Trade Center. But it is a national memorial, says director Alice Greenwald, and “we give the Pentagon its full story line” along with that of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. On display at the museum are items rescued from the scorched rubble of the Pentagon, including pieces of the building’s limestone façade, a gaping window frame from the plane, and a set of bangle bracelets and a desktop phone melted like objects in a Dali painting. The pieces have been donated or are on loan from the Defense Department, the Army and Navy history centers, the Smithsonian Institution, American Airlines and victims’ family members. The items are ordinary objects become artifacts, a testament to curators’ determination to comb through wreckage to find, catalogue and display evidence that will tell a story not just of carnage and atrocity, but of courage and resolve.
FLAG: Several folded ceremonial flags were found at the Pentagon. James Speraw, a 35-year Army curator from Glen Burnie who also documented the Haiti and Desert Storm conflicts, said the fact that this attack occurred on American soil, at the Pentagon, where he knew employees, made the curating experience “terribly, terribly personal.” Sam Kaplan/For The Washington Post Buy Photo