Preservation and Memory

Posted on: September 11th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

Written by Erica Stewart

Moving the Vesey Street Staircase, 2008. (Photo courtesy of the Federal Transit Administration, Lower Manhattan Recovery Office.)

Moving the Vesey Street Staircase, 2008. (Photo courtesy of the Federal Transit Administration, Lower Manhattan Recovery Office.)

On this 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, it is hard not to be revisited by strong feelings of grief and loss. The emotions are still close to the surface, and still powerful for many of us—and may always be. But we can take some comfort in reflecting how far we’ve come in that span of years, and how, in many cases, the act of preservation has helped restore some of the pride and dignity that was taken from us on that day ten years ago.

Thanks to the Department of Defense, skilled contractors labored tirelessly to rebuild the damaged wing of the Pentagon using material, design and craftsmanship that reflect its National Historic Landmark status. A beautiful memorial has also been constructed on the site of the crash. With help from federal programs like the now-defunct Save America’s Treasures, meaningful ties to the World Trade Center have been saved, including the Survivors’ Staircase (a 2006 11 Most Endangered listing and a 2009 Honor Award winner) and a 1:200 scale model of the complex. Both the staircase and the scale model will be on display at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Our colleagues at the National Park Service are formally dedicating the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania today as well.

Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement:

“We can’t expect to mend the hole that opened up in our world that day nor ever forget the pain. But I am grateful for the role preservation has played in helping guide our personal reflections and remembrances and hopefully, providing some space to find peace.

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been gratified to assist in the preservation of the Vesey staircase, one of the few remaining physical remnants of the World Trade Center. The staircase is an essential part of our nation’s fabric, and we have an obligation to preserve it, both for ourselves and future generations."

For more information about the federal programs that played a vital role in the preservation of these 9-11 related sites, and about the current threats to their funding, visit Save America's Treasures.

Erica Stewart is the outreach coordinator for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Public Affairs department.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike

    September 11, 2011

    Tone-deaf much?

  2. Mike

    September 11, 2011

    I could understand a plea for a fund dedicated to museums and memorials to commemorate 9/11. But using the 10th anniversary of the massacres of 9/11 to at once praise yourselves and your importance (“guiding our reflections”), and at the same time using it as an opportunity to once again bring up the issue of restoring funds to yourselves through the Save America’s Treasures program is crass and offensive. I expect better of an organization that claims sensitivity as one of its guiding motivations.