- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

A teddy bear, a broken camera and a burned Navy uniform are a few of the personal items recovered from the terrorist attacks displayed in a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit dedicated to the victims and survivors of September 11.
"This exhibit is an account of the worst and the best of human nature," first lady Laura Bush yesterday told survivors, victims' families, rescue workers and emergency personnel who gathered at the National Museum of American History.
"September 11: Bearing Witness to History," which opens today, includes a section of a twisted structural column from the 70th floor of the South Tower, the crushed door of a New York City fire truck and a scorched piece of the Pentagon's limestone facade.
Mrs. Bush was joined yesterday by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat; and New York City Fire Chief Joseph Pfeifer, who lost his brother Lt. Kevin Pfeifer in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
Chief Pfeifer was the first fire chief to arrive at the World Trade Center that day. The bunker coat, boots and helmet he wore that day are on display at the exhibit. So is a metal crowbar that Lt. Pfeifer used to break through gypsum wallboard. The crowbar was found near Lt. Pfeifer's body.
"You might ask, 'What does it mean to be a hero?'" Chief Pfeifer said. "And my definition of hero is one of ordinary people doing the ordinary, right thing at an extraordinary time."
During the ceremony, Mrs. Bush and Mr. Powell received the Pentagon Garrison flag, which was unfurled from the roof of the Defense Department by firefighters and soldiers Sept. 12 when President Bush visited the site. It will be displayed again at the Pentagon during a memorial service this morning, after which it will be sent back to the museum and displayed in the space where the original Star-Spangled Banner once hung.
The exhibit also displays a pair of shoes belonging to Cecilia Benavente, who removed them to speed her escape from the 103rd floor of Tower Two, and the squeegee handle used by window washer Jan Demczur and five other co-workers to pry open an elevator so they could flee One World Trade Center.
Around the corner, there's a tie, a pair of trousers and an ID badge that was worn by Jerry Henson, who was rescued after being pinned behind his desk by debris at the Pentagon.
"This exhibit is a growing repository of our collective memories," Mrs. Bush said. "It tells the story of a nation that gathered strength, displayed unbridled patriotism and showed the world the meaning of heroism and hope."
Mrs. Clinton said the artifacts will remind Americans of what it means to have the "blessing of liberty and freedom."
"This exhibit will make sure we never forget the sacrifice that so many paid, who were going about their daily business as American citizens, who were of course targets of the terrorist attacks, but more than that, who symbolized the resilience of this great nation," she said.
The exhibition closes Jan. 12.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide