David Shayt
September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of Cultural History

"...the broader question of terrorism at the World Trade Center."
One of the larger stories we hoped to capture in this collecting effort was the broader question of terrorism at the World Trade Center. And for that we looked to the 1993 bombing. Were there any aspects of that we could collect at this time that would allow us to incorporate that experience?

One of those objects became a red flashlight marked "WTC Fire Patrol." These red flashlights were issued to office teams to help organize the staff in the event of an attack or a fire, to help insure an orderly evacuation and a management of people. Hilary North, an office worker in the World Trade Center kept her fire patrol red flashlight after she had left her service as the fire patrol chief for her particular office, and has given us her red flashlight.

That one donation allows us then to speak broadly about the response, and also recognize other efforts made by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to increase the safety of the World Trade Center. And frankly, allowing many more people to escape on September 11 than otherwise would have. They not only provided flashlights, but illumination in the stairwells, special handrails, and special doorways, and other means of speedy evacuation.

The evacuation of the World Trade Centers is one of the untouched, under-appreciated stories of September 11. Thousands and thousands of people made their way out of the centers before their collapse. And if it weren't for the precautions and safeguards taken after 1993, that probably wouldn't have happened.