The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?’

(From left to right) The flag that flew over Eisenhower Executive Office Building on 9/11, the lapel Bush wore when he toured the Pentagon and the flag he flew after he speech and a piece of granite from one of the Twin Towers. Photo credit: Hanan Esaili

A block of granite from the World Trade Center. The megaphone President George W. Bush used to speak to emergency rescue crews at Ground Zero. A dirty, tattered American flag. These pieces of history remind us of a horrible time in America’s history. These are just some of the artifacts that The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Center brought out for a special one-day Sept. 11 exhibit.

“What I notice on 9/11 is that it’s almost a different feel within the building. There’s a more of a reverent sense within the facility. Definitely folks are more reflective,John Orrell public affairs specialist for the Library said.

The museum staff began the day of remembrance with a private moment with Mrs. Laura Bush. She posted a photo of the staff and herself surrounding the tower beams, which are a permanent installment to the museum, to her Facebook page with the caption: “This morning, the George W. Bush Presidential Center staff gathered for a moment of silence remembering those who lost their lives on September 11th. We think of them often and pray for those who risk their lives so we might never know terror again. May God continue to bless our country.”

The special exhibit contained challenge coins from the New York Fire Department and the Pentagon, the American Flag that flew over the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on 9/11, a book of memories from the children of Emma E. Booker Elementary School where Bush was visiting that day 13 years ago, a lapel pin President Bush wore when touring the Pentagon after 9/11 and the permanent installment, which was surrounded by flowers, of the 16.7 foot, 1.85 ton mangled piece of “impact steel” from the first tower that was struck directly by one of the hijacked jets.

The museum had an influx of school groups, particularly third, fourth and fifth graders, that visited Thursday. Orrell said the museum is especially proud that more and more school groups are visiting museum, especially on days like 9/11.

“When we think about that age group [third, fourth and fifth graders], they weren’t alive on Sept. 11. They have no first-hand memory of that day… the fact that they can come here and be educated on what happened that day, from the viewpoint of the president, that’s one of our most important missions here,” he said.

Visitors from all around Texas, and internationally, came to the museum and were overcome with emotion as they walked in and saw the permanent display of the contorted beams.

“Especially today it’s hard to watch that [the video footage], to get through that without tearing up a bit,” Mandy Gilbert from Mansfield, Texas said.

Phillip Middlemast, a visitor on holiday from Birmingham, England said news traveled fast to the towns in the UK, but people didn’t grasp what was really going on until they went home and turned on the news.

“I remember someone from my office came and told me there had been an explosion at the World Trade Center. We thought it was some sort of bomb… When I got home and put the news on TV, we appreciated how major an incident it had been. It was mind-blowing; we hadn’t seen anything like this before,” Middlemast said.

Even Grace Mason, a five-year-old girl from Allen, Texas, grasped what happened even though it occurred before she was born.

“The airplanes tried to make the United States crash down, and the United States protected the people,” Mason said.

Although it was 13 years ago, it feels like yesterday to most people. Museum staff said that next year, the artifacts will differ from this years and will likely grow in its size.

If visitors missed the special exhibit today, they can visit the Facebook page where the museum released hour-by-hour excerpts of Sept. 11 from Bush’s diary with videos and photos. Visitors can also make a trip to the museum to see the permanent installment year-round.

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