At two and a half years old, Christine Lee Hanson was the youngest of the eight children who were killed on 9/11, all passengers aboard the aircraft commandeered by terrorists. Christine’s life will be remembered through the display of her beloved Peter Rabbit, which will be installed in the 9/11 Museum’s Memorial Exhibition Thursday, June 11, after closing.
On September 11, 2001, Christine and her parents, Peter and Sue Kim Hanson, left their residence in Groton, Mass. and boarded United Flight 175 at Logan Airport. The family was flying to Los Angeles to visit Sue Kim’s relatives, followed by a trip to Disneyland. The hijacked plane never reached its destination. Two other children died on the same flight when it crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Christine was a bright, busy toddler who loved taking trips to the playground and helping her father in the garden. An attentive caretaker of her toys, she favored a stuffed Peter Rabbit character from the classic Beatrix Potter series. It was given to her by her grandmother, Eunice Hanson, in acknowledgement of Christine’s birth in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. Peter Rabbit replaced Christine’s previously best-loved plaything: a red Teletubby acquired in infancy that “went everywhere with her,” Eunice Hanson recalls.
In 2014, both of these cherished keepsakes were entrusted to the 9/11 Memorial Museum by her grandparents, Eunice and Lee Hanson. Two Winnie the Pooh stickers that Christine placed on Peter Rabbit’s torso are still attached. “She put stickers on everything she liked; I suppose it was her mark of approval,” Eunice Hanson said.
Included in the Hanson’s gift to the Museum was a photograph of Christine celebrating her first birthday, with the word Peace incised on the picture frame. “The Peace frame containing Christine’s picture, taken in a traditional Korean outfit, is most poignant,” said Eunice Hanson. “That one word describes Christine’s parents, who were loving people and believed in kindness. I could ask volumes of questions why this happened to them, given who they were.”
By Jan Seidler Ramirez, Chief Curator and Vice President of Collections