Messages to Those We’ve Lost: 9/11 Memorial Railings

Photograph by Michael LorenziniIn the early years after 9/11, family members gathered at the base of the World Trade Center site on the anniversaries of the terrorist attack. They left tributes and inscribed messages of love and loss on the wooden supports for the temporary reflecting pools constructed on the footprints of the two World Trade Center towers. Municipal Archives staff collected many of the items and wooden supports after the commemorative ceremonies from 2002 through 2009. This banner shows some images of the supports with transcribed messages in the background

In this 20th anniversary year of the 9/11 terrorist attack, these images of the wooden supports and their inscriptions remind us of that day and its impact on New York and the world. They provide an opportunity to reflect on our personal and collective loss. Resilience, hope, and community are reflected in the notes, remembrances, symbols, and dedications written on the supports. Reading and experiencing these messages, we hope this presentation will serve as a place of community connection, a common theme that continues to inspire recovery in New York City.


Art Direction: Alexandra Dolan-Mescal

Photography: Stephen Mallon

Graphic Design: Quinn Bolewicki

Transcription: Saadia IslamThe NYC Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) preserves and makes accessible historical and contemporary records and information about New York City government.