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Negative #: 2002.006

Location: Pentagon
Object #: 2002.0060
Source: Transfer from the U.S. Department of Justice

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Department of Justice telephone
Description: Ted Olson, U.S. solicitor general, received two calls on this office telephone from his wife, Barbara Olson, as her hijacked airplane headed toward the Pentagon.

Context: Telephones affected the way people experienced September 11. Barbara Olson, a well-known political commentator, made two phone calls to her husband while onboard American Airlines Flight 77 after it was hijacked by terrorists. She learned of the other hijacked planes and discussed with her husband what to do. Despite the terror of the situation, she remained cool and focused; her husband could only console her and listen. At 9:38 am, all fifty-three passengers, six crew members, and five hijackers were killed when the plane crashed into the Pentagon. All over the world, telephones mattered to people that day, as families and coworkers connected with each other to verify their safety or express their love.

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Ted and Barbara Olson
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"So many people spoke by phone to each other that day..."
David Shayt
September 11 Collecting Curator. Museum Specialist, Division of Cultural History


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