Living in Albany, we heard all about the striking of the World Trade Center but little about the destruction at the Pentagon and on the ground outside Shanksvlle, PA.
There’s a lot more about the Pentagon and Shanksville victims here in D.C., obviously because one is right in our back yard and the other was a plane that took off from Dulles Airport in the metro area.
I learned a lot about both at a very simple, short-term exhibit at the Smithsonian yesterday.
The wait to enter the exhibit was 1 1/2 hours, which was fitting, to establish an unhurried mood rather than just rushing in, looking and leaving.
Inside, there were four tables set up: one for each of the attack sites, and one explaining the procedures of the TSA (airport security) workers.
On each of the three attack site tables there were artifacts and a couple of Smithsonian staff members on hand to answer questions.
The items from Shanksville, PA, included fragments of the plane and a flight attendant’s safety manual.
From the Pentagon, there was a clock that had stopped at the time of the attack and a postcard that had gotten to the recipient the day after the sender was killed on the plane. And there was a metal coil that was part of a re-enforced wall put up in recent renovations that kept the airplane from breaking through to more of the building and causing even more damage and loss of life.
From the World Trade Center, there was Mayor Guilliani’s cell phone, the crumpled door of a firetruck and a briefcase that was miraculously discovered and returned to a worker who had escaped from high up one of the towers.
The up-close-and-personal exhibit, without glass barriers between objects and viewers, was incredibly moving. And the mood was enhanced by video clips telling more of the stories of the objects, the memories of Guiliani and of newsman Peter Jennings.