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WNYC On "Recovery" Exhibit and What is Now at Fresh Kills, Pentagon and Pennsylvania

December 16 2003 at 10:22 AM
roger 

WTC Recovery Subject of Historical Society Exhibit
by Amy Eddings

NEW YORK, NY (2003-12-15)

For fifty years, the Fresh Kills landfill was a repository for those things New York City determined to be disposable. That role was forever changed when the landfill became a crime lab for the recovery of human remains, personal effects, and evidence from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. The enormous recovery operation is the subject of an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. WNYC's Amy Eddings reports.

One way to tell the story of the recovery effort at Fresh Kills is with numbers. On any given day, fourteen hundred people toiled there. They sifted through 1.6 million tons of World Trade Center material. They found four thousand, two hundred and fifty-seven human remains. They retrieved fifty-four thousand personal items. Four thousand photographs. Thirteen hundred vehicles.

The exhibit, Recovery, at the New York Historical Society, attempts to boil down these staggering numbers into something the mind, and the heart, can grasp.


For fifty years, the Fresh Kills landfill was a repository for those things New York City determined to be disposable. That role was forever changed when the landfill became a crime lab for the recovery of human remains, personal effects, and evidence from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. The enormous recovery operation is the subject of an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. WNYC's Amy Eddings reports.

One way to tell the story of the recovery effort at Fresh Kills is with numbers. On any given day, fourteen hundred people toiled there. They sifted through 1.6 million tons of World Trade Center material. They found four thousand, two hundred and fifty-seven human remains. They retrieved fifty-four thousand personal items. Four thousand photographs. Thirteen hundred vehicles.

The exhibit, Recovery, at the New York Historical Society, attempts to boil down these staggering numbers into something the mind, and the heart, can grasp.



Mayor Michael Bloomberg has started the process of converting Fresh Kills into a park, and he has said the area where the World Trade Center debris should be commemorated in some way. The Hornings say it's ironic officials took care to set aside objects for museums, while ignoring the tons of sifted debris that they believe contain what's left of their son. Bloomberg's office didn't return calls seeking comment. Sanitation Chief Diggins and FBI agent Marx say it wasn't their decision to make. Police inspector Luongo refuses to discuss the subject.

At the Pentagon crash site, an FBI spokeswoman for the Washington field office says sifted material from that recovery effort was also sent to a landfill. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the forested field where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, the sifted material was left where it was found.

Wallace Miller: We had the advantage out here, we have a very bucolic area out here, I mean, it could be a park on its own. There are beautiful hemlock trees that are 75, 100 feet high.

Wallace Miller is the coroner of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. He was in charge of the recovery effort at Shanksville. He used the sifted material to fill the crater left in the earth by the airplane.

I mean, it's interesting that it happened at that particular place, but, you know (laughs) it was a quirk of fate. And again, the problems that New York faces .I just really, I just can't even imagine.

Everything about the World Trade Center, and their destruction, and what it took to recover that site, eludes comprehension. Speaking at the New-York Historical Society, Christy Ferer, who lost her husband, is grateful for the Recovery exhibit.


http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wnyc/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=579668

 

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