WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Fifteen years might seem like a long time ago, but step into the Newseum’s 9/11 exhibit, and you’re instantly transported back to that awful day.
A mangled piece of metal immediately grabs your attention. It’s the radio antenna that once stood high above one of the Twin Towers.
“When that radio tower came down, all the communication in the city stopped," said Sonya Gavankar, the Newseum's manager of public relations.
Gavankar walked Washington correspondent Ted Fioraliso through the timeline of events – displayed at the base of the antenna.
“All of these things were happening so fast. That speed of news was happening in real time as we all watched on television, listened to the radio, and in some cases, experienced it personally in our backyards," explained Gavankar.
Dozens of newspapers from September 12th line the wall – a reminder of how our world changed the day before.
“One of the most memorable is the one that just says, ‘Bastards!’" she said.
Inside a small theater, a short film features some of the journalists who witnessed the destruction first-hand.
While most of this exhibit focuses on the attack in New York, the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania aren’t forgotten. An original piece of the Pentagon is on display. It was removed after American Flight 77 slammed into it. There’s also a piece of United 93’s fuselage.
“[Flight 93] was heading towards Washington, D.C. We don’t know what the outcome of that could’ve been if the passengers didn’t become heroes themselves by trying to save the plane and taking themselves down with it," said Gavankar.
And not to be forgotten – the thousands of innocent lives lost. Here you’ll find the damaged wallet and mangled credit cards that belonged to Ruth McCourt. She and her four-year-old daughter were heading to Disneyland on one of the ill-fated flights. And then, there’s a broken camera that belonged to Bill Biggart. He was the only journalist to die that day.
Gavankar hopes visitors come away with an appreciation for something that’s uniquely American.
“We want them to understand the Freedoms afforded in the First Amendment," she said. "It really shows you the united force of news and the freedom of expression.”