Since the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial Glade in May 2019, a new group of tributes has emerged. We see many prayer cards and flowers on the monoliths left as tribute to those brave men and women who worked during the nine-month rescue and recovery effort.
Each night, the tributes are removed from the Memorial to ensure what we call “a democracy of names,” meaning no one tribute can make the significance of one name greater than another’s. We cherish all the victims equally, and we ensure that visitors to experience the Memorial plaza in that way every day.
After collection, the tributes are evaluated one by one, and curators decide if the items left behind can and should be taken into the collection. Biodegradable material, such as flowers or food, cannot be preserved, and therefore cannot be accessioned into the Museum’s permanent collection. Furthermore, any sealed letters left on the plaza may be accessioned into the collection, but they are not opened out of respect for the letter writer’s privacy.
You can read more about the special care that tributes receive after they are left on the site. When we reopen the 9/11 Memorial, visitors are encouraged to leave a tribute as a sign of healing and remembrance.
By Timothy McGuirk, Communications Manager, 9/11 Memorial & Museum