Theme memo blog. News, discussion and information about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

A Living history: The stories behind 9/11 artifacts

 "A Living History: The Stories Behind 9/11 Artifacts" is a three-part series written by oral historian Jenny Pachucki of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and edited by Meghan Walsh, communications associate for the 9/11 Memorial. "Gloves" is part 1 of 3 in the series.

David Brink, a NYPD emergency services unit detective, donated three pairs of gloves to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, each telling a different yet equally powerful story.

One pair - now blackened with soot - was the set he wore on 9/11.  As the 110-story buildings were falling on top of him, he put his gloved hands to his face to protect against suffocating dust.  These gloves reflect what it was like to be trapped in the huge black cloud created by the destruction of the skycrapers.

A second pair that Brink donated tells a very different story.  The set is the heavy work gloves he picked up at the “hospitality tent” during the period of recovery and rescue.  At the tent, workers could take all sorts of goods and supplies that were donated from across the country.  Brink took a pair he thought looked particularly warm.  While working on the wreckage pile, he discovered the words “Thank you!” written in black marker across the palms of the gloves.

He told the museum anytime he was working and discouraged, he'd look down at the writing on his gloves and think “these could be from some kid in Iowa, or some housewife in California who were rooting for us and appreciated us, and it gave me the boost I needed to keep working.”

Jenny Pachucki, Oral Historian for the 9/11 Memorial Museum