9/11 memorial: New York museum exhibits artifacts from Bin Laden raid

Navy SEAL’s shirt, brick from Abbottabad complex on display


Rana Tanveer September 09, 2014

NEW YORK:


A shirt worn by one of the US Navy SEAL Team 6 members is part of an exhibit unveiled on Sunday at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

Organisers have also included a ‘challenge coin’ issued to commemorate the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden as well as a brick recovered from the Abbottabad compound where the al Qaeda chief was hunted down in May 2011. The coin was donated to the exhibit by ‘Maya’, the codename for the CIA operative who pursued Bin Laden. The exhibit, in the museum’s Foundation Hall, opened two days before the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and focuses on the raid that led to Osama bin Laden’s killing.


The SEAL’s shirt bears an American flag patch on one arm and is coloured black and brown. The flag is stitched on backwards, in a symbolic gesture that references the era when the flag-bearer led soldiers into battle and the flag would fly backwards as they marched.

The red, white and blue challenge coin is marked with May 1, 2011, the date in the United States when Bin Laden was killed - in the early hours of May 2 in Pakistan. The other side of the coin shows a red ‘X’ in reference to the red X that former US president George W Bush put through the names of key al Qaeda operatives after they were found, arrested or killed, the museum said.

The brick, recovered from Bin Laden’s hideout, has been on display in the museum since it opened in May this year. However, the identities of the retired Navy SEAL and the CIA operative are not included in the exhibit to preserve their anonymity, the media office of the 9/11 museum said.

The new additions to the museum have been criticised by some, with Newsweek remarking that the inclusion of the SEAL’s shirt is a display of ‘cheap closure’ and ‘crass’. However, the museum responded, “These artifacts testify to the outcome of years of effort to locate Osama bin Laden.”

More than 900,000 people have visited the museum since it opened. The 9/11 memorial has had more than 15 million visitors since opening in September 2011.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2014.

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