Memory Remains – 9 / 11 artefacts at Hangar 17 by Francesc Torres

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WITH just days to the 10th anniversary of 2001 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade centre, a book of photographs by a Spanish photographer has been published, Alfredo Bloy reports.

‘MEMORY REMAINS’ is large format book published this month featuring photography by Barcelona born, Francesc Torres.

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In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, some 1.8 million tons of debris were removed from the World Trade Center site during a cleanup and recovery operation that lasted nine months.

A small fraction of this material was selected for preservation and kept at Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, as documentation of what had been at the World Trade Center and as a testament to what happened there on 9/11.

Torres, was engaged by National September 11 Memorial to document the powerful relics at Hangar 17 and the stories they tell.


He was granted special access to visit JFK International Airport‘s Hangar 17. Torres himself, at home in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, writes a memory piece on that day and his feelings in the presence of the twisted remains months later.

He was 600 feet from the towers when it happened. “When something like that happens you don’t think, you just  react. I felt that I had to do two things immediately. One: call my mother in Barcelona. Two: grab the camera and use it,” he said.

None of the people he knows were hurt in the incidents.


A decade on, Francesc believes the city has recovered. “In its inner core New York hasn’t changed because of the attack. It took the blow and kept moving on, but there is definitely a before and after 9/11 in the  personal history of every single New Yorker, no question about it,” he said.

Accompanying his photography are several pieces of writing that address the question of what place the memory of 9/11 will take in the history of the United States and the world.

US magazine Newsweek senior editor Jerry Adler writes the primary text of the book, explaining how the remains of Ground Zero came to be carried to Hangar 17 and what happened to them there.

Yale historian David Blight offers a piece on how 9/11 will reshape American history. The book also includes a statement by the curator of the forthcoming 9/11 Museum at the World Trade Center, where some of these pieces will be displayed.

11-M: Spain’s 9 /11

On the morning of March 11, 2004 a series of bombings in Madrid’s local trains network killed 191 people, injuring 1,800 people. An investigation by the Spanish Judiciary attributed the attacks to an al-Qaeda linked terrorist cell.

Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17 by Francesc Torres (Price $50, National Geographic). Large format hardcover, 192 pages. Avaliable from Amazon and some local English language bookshops.

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