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August 03, 2011


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Peter Liebhold, Curator

@Maureen- The FBI returned the debris of Flight 93 to United Airlines (the owner of the airplane). At the time we collected artifacts United Airlines was storing the material in shipping containers pending resolution of several lawsuits. I do not know whether the lawsuits were settled nor the status of the remaining material.


We got a call at 10:00 that morning telling us all to go home. Everything was gridlocked, and I had to wait until 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. before I could drive home. I will never forget crossing Key Bridge and seeing the smoke, thick dark and thick, rising from the Pentagon. Nor the eeriness, because cars were allowed only to go one way. I especially will not forget having to drive by the Pentagon some days later and seeing the gash in that building. We knew several people who lost loved ones that day, at the Pentagon and in NYC. My neighbor, a military chaplain, worked long unbroken shifts for several days and came home looking haunted.

Thank you for this moving essay. To go into those containers seems almost unimaginable to me. Your writing reflects how very sensitive you must have been to the meaning of what remained.

May I ask, what happened to the material in those containers?

Diane Shaw

Thanks, Peter, for this remarkable glimpse into the work that you, Bill Yeingst, and the late David Shayt did to recover artifacts that would document the events of 9/11 for the Smithsonian and the nation. I sit in stunned reflection reading this entry, sad and amazed at the photos of the shipping containers that held the shreds of things from so many lives lost.

Andrea McCullough

I love this story! I am an American history teacher who aspires to one day work with American artifacts and be involved in actually collecting the history of our country so others can more easily teach about it and learn from it! As curators, you bring history alive for children and adults and you commemorate the memory of those involved. Specifically for September 11th, you are reminding us of what we lost, what we learned and never to forget. You should be very proud of your work! Thank you!

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