NY Times Profiles Effort to Save Tribute Items Left at the Memorial

A stuffed bumble bee, a yellow rose, a small American flag, and a photo of a victim of the 9/11 attacks have been placed at a name on the Memorial.
A stuffed bee left by the name of Betty Ang Ong during the 9/11 anniversary ceremony in 2017. Photo by Jin S. Lee, 9/11 Memorial.

Every day of the year, visitors to the 9/11 Memorial leave tribute items at the names of victims or on the 9/11 Memorial Glade. Some of these items are from family members keeping the memory of their loved ones alive. Others are from complete strangers expressing a connection to someone they never met.

With the 18th anniversary of the attacks approaching, The New York Times described these moving tributes and spoke with family members and Museum staff about ongoing efforts to archive them. Such tributes have been an integral feature of the Memorial since its opening in 2011, but they were around long before then; missing persons posters and impromptu memorials were already appearing in the streets and parks of lower Manhattan in the hours after the attacks.

Among the tributes included in the Times story are: a letter from a 15-year-old English tourist to 2-year-old Christine Lee Hanson, who was on Flight 175; ballet slippers and a jar of sand left by the sisters of 26-year-old Maile Rachel Hale, who was attending a financial technology conference at the North Tower; red bandanas honoring 24-year-old Welles Remy Crowther, who wore a handkerchief as he helped others escape the South Tower; and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups placed at the name of Ronald Carl Fazio, Sr., a 57-year-old accountant who worked in the South Tower and loved the candy.

While all nonperishable items left at the site are collected nightly for indefinite storage, more than 300 have been added to the Museum’s permanent collection. These include a note from Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and a yellow helmet worn for three decades by a U.K. firefighter.

Walk through the Memorial on any given day and you’ll always come across new tributes and tokens of remembrance that show the 2,983 people lost on 9/11 and February 26, 1993 are not forgotten. Learn more about how we acquire tributes and artifacts in the video below.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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