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Judge: 'WTC Cross' an Artifact, Not Constitutional Violation

In July 2011, a crane lowers the World Trade Center Cross into the 9/11 Memorial Museum. (Amy Dreher photo) In July 2011, a crane lowers the World Trade Center Cross into the 9/11 Memorial Museum. (Amy Dreher photo)

After the 2001 terror strikes, two intersecting steel beams were discovered amid the twisted metal and rubble where 6 World Trade Center had once stood in downtown New York. The steel remnant became a universal icon of hope and comfort during the arduous Ground Zero recovery effort.

The remnant, known as the World Trade Center Cross, serves as a powerful artifact embodying an emotionally difficult but important American history. Inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the cross and other monumental Sept. 11 artifacts will be preserved and displayed, “presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery.”

In 2011, 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said, “The World Trade Center Cross is an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could.”

On Friday, a judge agreed with Daniels.

Judge Deborah A. Batts of Federal District Court in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit that contended displaying the cross would be unconstitutional. She ruled the artifact could help tell the story of the terrorist attacks.

"On behalf of countless supporters, I'm grateful that the Court agrees that the display of the World Trade Center Cross is not a constitutional violation but is in fact a crucial part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s mission of preserving the true history of 9/11,” Daniels said after the ruling.

In July 2011, the cross was lowered into the 9/11 Memorial Museum, joining other large artifacts that will help convey what happened on 9/11. They include the “Last Column,” “Survivors’ Stairway” and a FDNY fire truck used in the response to the 2001 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.

By Michael Frazier, VP of Communications for the 9/11 Memorial