Just as a trip to Honolulu should include a visit to Pearl Harbor, so should a trip to New York City include a visit to the 9-11 Memorial and Museum. Already the memory of that fateful day has faded in the American consciousness, but a trip to the Memorial will bring back all of the emotion that you felt 17 years ago.
I applaud the foresight that people had to gather and preserve elements of the attack in order to be able to vividly tell the story in the future. Pieces of twisted steel, missing person flyers, ashes, destroyed vehicles and answering machine recordings all served to make the disaster real. I wonder who painted “save” on one of the support pillars or picked up newspapers from that morning to illustrate the ordinary way the day began.
I doubt there was a Port Authority archivist, or anyone specifically assigned to gather artifacts at the site, but our history is much more memorable because someone had the presence of mind to do so. Many organizations don’t have the forethought to save key elements of their organization’s history and it is lost forever. Don’t let your organization be one that relies only on two-dimensional mementos to tell its story.