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Imperial War Museum North’s poignant reflection on how 9/11 affected Manchester

By Jen Lau

A creative but poignant reflection on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was held yesterday at the Imperial War Museum North, and served as a reminder of how it has impacted on lives in Manchester.

The 9/11 Transatlantic Memorial Event brought together a live link-up between the Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) and Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

A British Union Jack flag that was recovered from the remains of the World Trade Center in New York was on public display for the first time at the museum.

The flag was officially presented to Great Britain, on the first anniversary of 9/11, by the people of the United States and was laid on the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral in a memorial service for victims of the attacks.


RECOVERED: The Union Jack flag found in the remains of the World Trade Center

Pete Brown, Head of Learning and Access at IWMN, opened the event and spoke about how the events of 9/11 had touched Manchester personally and the importance of reflecting and remembering this.

He said: “We hope that by looking backwards, we can be more optimistic about having a hopeful future.”

An address was also made by Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council.

Two specially composed pieces of orchestral music, composed by Kevin Malone, Head of Composition at the University of Manchester were performed. The Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra performed one piece at the IWMN and the other was performed in America with each section being shown on both sides of the Atlantic.

The powerful orchestral performance at the IWMN was interspersed with recorded eyewitness descriptions from the United Airlines Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania. The performance in America was accompanied by a dance interpretation of the music.

Mark Heron, Music Director of the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra was pleased with the avoidance of technical hitches concerning the international link up.

He said: “The link with Manchester makes it a very interesting connection and an event worth doing. It was a pleasure to be involved and a moving way to commemorate the anniversary.”

A huge section of steel, 7 metres in height and weighing more than a tonne, was also recovered from the wreckage and will be on display in the museum from October.


WRECKAGE: The twisted remains of steel girders from the World Trade Center

This, along with a smaller piece at IWM London is amongst the first pieces of steel from Ground Zero to go on display in the UK. The columns, thought to be from the North Tower, formed part of a window section from an external wall.

The steel, distorted and twisted, is evidence of the massive force and impact of the collapse of the towers. A limited number of preview tours were held prior to the event to view the steelwork.

The IWMN was the first UK building to be designed by the world renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind, who has also designed the master plan for the rebuilding of Ground Zero in New York.

For further information about the IWMN, please see: http://north.iwm.org.uk/

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