9/11 exhibit opening at Hobart museum

Published: Sep. 7, 2016 at 10:11 PM CDT
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HOBART, OK (KSWO) - A local museum will unveil a new display to remember those lost on 9/11 on the 15th anniversary of the devastating attacks.

The 9/11 "Never Forget" Exhibit at the General Tommy Franks Museum in Hobart has its grand opening this Sunday. It features videos, pictures and items from that day, including an actual steel beam from the World Trade Center.

The exhibit shows what happened through the eyes of a person simply walking down a New York City sidewalk. It breaks down eight specific times on September 11th, showing exactly what happened at each point during that day.  It starts at 8 a.m., on a normal election day in New York City.

"The polls were open and people were headed to work and calls began coming in about the hijackers," exhibit creator Warren Martin said.

It shows a few facts about the World Trade Center before it transitions to when the first plane hit at 8:46 a.m. Martin said at first, people thought it was an accident, but minutes later they found out it wasn't.

"At 9:03 the second plane actually hits the World Trade Center," Martin said.

The exhibit shows the planes crashing and the buildings collapsing, before showing Andy Card, who was the Chief of Staff to President Bush, informing the president of the attacks while he read to a class of elementary students.

Just on the other side of that video monitor, there is a functioning metal detector that Martin said is a symbol of security changes brought about by the attacks.

The next sections talk about the plane that hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. and the flight that was re-taken by passengers on the plane at 10:03 a.m.

Ultimately, that all leads up to what Martin said the entire exhibit is centered around, a 3,000-pound steel beam from the World Trade Center.

"We actually designed the beam and encourage people to walk up to in and touch the beam. It's very powerful to touch something that came from ground zero just to tie yourself to that moment, to tie yourself to that," Martin said.

There are several other parts of the exhibit as well and Martin said he hopes people will come out, take in the exhibit and learn.

"That day, you saw all across America, all across the world, but especially here in America, you saw a patriotic response to what happened that day," Martin said. "What I hope people take away from this is as they go through this exhibit and recall those events, I hope they leave wanting to make a patriotic response. Because it's still about the people of America."

Museum Vice President Retired Colonel Michael Hayes said a lot of work went into securing the steel beam and getting the exhibit set up. He said he hopes people will come out this weekend for two very important reasons.

"To acknowledge the 15th anniversary of 9/11 in a way that the people who lived through that time never forget," Hayes said. "It's also an education opportunity for folks, especially young folks, who were not born or were young at that time to have them remember and educate them on what happened and why it happened."

The grand opening for the exhibit is Sunday. There will be free lunch to the first 1,000 people at the County Courthouse in Hobart at 11 a.m.  Afterward, speakers including General Tommy Franks and Governor Mary Fallin will talk about their personal memories of the attacks.  The free tours of the exhibit will begin at 3 p.m.

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