Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gifford Ice Cream 9/11 Tribute: Stars & Stripes Serving Those Who Serve

A tribute example that was shared with me:

I have a somewhat curious "artifact" of my WTC volunteer experience.  This may sound a bit weird...it is actually a pint of Gifford's of Maine ice cream called "Serving Those Who Serve" which was dispensed at the Salvation Army big tent on Murray and West.  The pints were in the food service area and workers could just grab one and have some.  Eventually, we volunteers were permitted to bring some home.  
It is vanilla with pieces of red and blue "Stars and Stripes" candy and red swirls.  I just took a look at it yesterday since having put it in there, and about a half inch has evaporated.   
The ice cream was created by Gifford's specifically for the 9/11 effort.  I reached out to them yesterday to inquire about this.  Their rep sent me a link with some photos of the ice cream being brought to NYC and DC and being served by the Gifford family.  So I'm passing that link to you for your reference.  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/36anbek0no0gxev/fYYTGPtKu-#/ 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spyderco Knife Documentation

Documentation for the Spyderco tribute knife that was made as a fundraiser for 9/11.

September 11th Room Divider

I'm not so sure about using this as a room divider or window screen, but I'm sure there is someone out there who is doing just that.

American Greeting Ornament

Tribute ornament from American Greeting.

Washburn 9/11 Tribute Guitar

Washburn 9/11 tribute guitar that came in 3 colors (red, white and blue).  My understanding is that there were 200 of the blue and red made and 100 white.  I posted in 2011 about this guitar. Thanks to Jay from Kansas City for reaching out to me.  It is an amazing object.  Jay bought it to use for his studio work, and reached out to a business associate at Washburn to get more info on it.  These are highly collectible now.   

9/11 Tribute Wilson NFL Football




Special tribute NFL Wilson football offered on the 10th Anniversary of September 11th.

Fender 9/11 Tribute Guitar

The Fender Custom Shop offers its own sincere tribute to those who fell on Sept. 11, 2001, with a trio of custom Stratocaster guitars commemorating the events and the heroes at the World Trade Center complex.
The trio of Stratocaster models honors each of the three major organizations that paid such a terrible price that day—the New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Each guitar has a custom graphic finish depicting imagery related to each agency and to the events of that day.
Check out the photo gallery below.
Also, inlaid into the custom finish of each Stratocaster are various commendation pins and badges of each agency; several related specifically to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Among these are three specially commissioned badges—one for each guitar—noting the number of fallen officers, firefighters and paramedics that day—23 for the New York City Police Department, 37 for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and 343 for the New York City Fire Department.
After going on brief display at a Fender event in California in mid-September, Eric Clapton will play the guitars during fall dates on his 2011 world tour, after which they will be donated to Sept 11, 2001, first-responder organizations.
The guitars are the brainchild of Minnesota firefighter Tommy Clarke, who, a decade ago, was on the scene of the World Trade Center within 24 hours after disaster struck. In the years afterward, he collected pins, badges, medals and other commendation related to the three New York agencies and to Sept. 11. The decorations that adorn the three guitars are from his collection.
Although not a guitarist, Clarke conceived of the guitars in the mid-2000s after receiving an invitation to a New York “Notes For Hope” fund-raising banquet for the city’s Sept. 11 memorial and museum.
“Even though I don’t play guitar, I thought it would a good way for me to honor those who perished on Sept. 11 and those who are still suffering,” he said. “And I always loved sitting back and listening to my son play guitar. That’s when I thought of a guitar. I’ve always felt as if music and art combined together is a good way for a person to express his feelings.”
Clarke also happens to be a longtime friend of Eric Clapton, and it was Clapton that put Clarke in touch with the Fender Custom Shop, where Master Builder Todd Krause was entrusted with bringing the idea to life. Krause had built several instruments for Clapton over the years, and he and Clarke exchanged ideas—one of which led to the custom finish graphics by New York artist Lee Quinones.
“I’m on the West Coast, and I have a list of people who I refer to,” Krause said. “But Tommy and I were discussing artists, and we both felt it was really important that it be a New York artist. It had to be a New York artist.” Quinones was enlisted, and in no time Clarke had a complete set of guitar designs. “I had a strong vision of what I wanted,” Clarke said. “The biggest problem with the guitars was that there’s not a lot of real estate. Each guitar tells a story, and the hardest part was to paint the tragedy while still portraying ourselves as emerging triumphant.”
The Commendations
Each tribute Stratocaster guitar bears a set of actual commendations particular to each New York City agency inlaid into its upper surface. These pins, badges and medals are taken from the personal collection of firefighter Tommy Clarke, who was present at the World Trade Center site in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. The commendations on each instrument are listed below (from top to bottom on each guitar body).
New York Fire Department Stratocaster
• “Survivor” pin bearing two stars and numeral 343; the number of firefighters and paramedics killed at the World Trade Center complex on Sept. 11, 2001. Clarke notes that this is “the highest New York Fire Department commendation ever given.”
• “Rescuer” pin bearing one star and numeral 343; denotes a responder on the scene within 24 hours. Clarke notes that these commendations were distributed on the first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
• “Campaign” pin bearing numeral 343 (no star); denotes any New York City Fire Department responder on the job on Sept. 11, 2001, present or not at the World Trade Center.
• Specially commissioned New York City Fire Department badge commemorating the agency’s 343 officers, firefighters and paramedics lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
• 11 individual commendation bars signify acts of bravery not specifically related to Sept. 11, 2001.
New York Police Department Stratocaster
• “U.S. Flag” pin bearing 09-11-01. Clarke notes that these were issued to New York Police and Port Authority officers in the wake of the tragedy.
• “WTC” pin issued to New York police and Port Authority officers.
• NYPD Medal of Honor; a green bar with 12 stars denoting “Individual acts of extraordinary bravery in the line of duty at imminent and personal danger to the police officers’ life above and beyond the call of duty.”
• NYPD Police Combat Cross; a solid green bar denoting “Members who have successfully and intelligently performed an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary under circumstances of imminent personal hazard to life.”
• NYPD Medal for Valor; a solid blue bar denoting “Acts of outstanding personal bravery intelligently performed in the line of duty at imminent personal hazard to life under circumstances evincing a disregard of personal consequences.”
• NYPD Meritorious Award; multi-colored bar denoting “An act of extraordinary bravery.”
• Pistol expert pin.
• Specially commissioned New York City Police Department badge commemorating the agency’s 23 officers lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Stratocaster
• “U.S. Flag” pin bearing 09-11-01. Clarke notes that these were issued to New York police and Port Authority officers in the wake of the tragedy.
• “WTC” pin issued to New York police and Port Authority officers.
• NYPD Police Combat Cross; a solid green bar denoting “Members who have successfully and intelligently performed an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary under circumstances of imminent personal hazard to life.” Also issued to Port Authority officers.
• “Bronze Star” pin; green, white and blue bar bearing a bronze star denoting “Integrity for great personal danger in the performance of duty.”
• “Blue Star” pin; green, white and blue bar bearing a blue star denoting community service.
• “Meritorious Police Duty” pin; green, white and blue bar (no star).
• Pistol sharpshooter pin.
• Specially commissioned Port Authority of New York and New Jersey badge commemorating the agency’s 37 officers lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
Photo by Steve Pitkin



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Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Awl: 9/11 Collection Article

Recent article in The Awl about the 9/11 Collection.

The Museum Of 9/11 Golf Balls, Terrorism Sweaters And World Trade Center Knives

wtc_golf In most suburban homes, you wouldn't be surprised to find an array of dusty objects—pencil sharpeners, empty milk bottles, skateboards, air fresheners and perhaps a Mr. Potato Head—tucked into corners of spare bedrooms. In Andrew Marietta's house, in Cooperstown, New York, this stuff shares a common theme: September 11, 2001.
Marietta is the owner of one of the world's largest private collections of September 11 memorabilia. Stored in boxes scattered around his home are 1500 to 2000 objects originally produced by companies to commemorate the event. Many of these items are strange in their ordinariness: Marietta's collection includes not just plaques and flags but things like pens, candy and tissue boxes. Marietta is 35, and works at a nonprofit association and manages rental properties. He has been amassing these objects since 2001, when, as a museum studies graduate student, he noticed entire aisles of grocery stores and corridors of malls erupting in red, white and blue. "It was almost like 9/11 was its own brand," he said.
Mainstream brands were behind the effort: Mars, Maker’s Mark, Hasbro, Ty Inc., Yankee Candle, and Tiffany & Co. were among the companies who produced and sold 9/11-themed versions of their regular products, often promising to donate a portion of the proceeds to charities. These days, the mass-marketing of tribute items is more controversial. In 2011, in the months leading up to 9/11's tenth anniversary, a new deluge of commemorative products such as a bottle of Merlot priced at $19.11 were deemed "grotesque” and “exploitative." As Stephen Colbert put it then, in a segment titled “Shopping Griefportunities": "They hated our way of life. And what typifies our way of life more than selling each other useless crap made in China?"
While 9/11-themed silverware might not be ideal for a dinner party, it can have another use: helping people connect with a tragedy by serving as tangible proof that it actually happened. The more quotidian an object, the further it is in magnitude from the event it's meant to conjure. That's a distance that can be offensive—yet everyday stuff, by virtue of its ubiquity, is also more likely to trigger a memory than sacred things we unwrap only once a year.
I asked Marietta for his thoughts on tribute objects, shopping as therapy, and tracking down old beer bottles on eBay. We spoke by phone.
wtc_golf2 Alice Hines: What is the most interesting item you’ve acquired recently?
Andrew Marietta: This six pack of beer I got last week on eBay is pretty cool. It's a brand called Fire Company Brew, made by a retired firefighter who was at the Twin Towers on 9/11. The bottles are empty because the previous owner drank the beer, but it's basically a bottle with a fire department insignia and a label that explains the concept. There's a whole thing about how money goes back to support a Fire Company Brew victims fund. It's interesting to see how people started their own little businesses around the concept of 9/11.
Why did you start collecting this stuff?
I'm originally from Minnesota and I moved to upstate New York for a museum studies master’s program in Cooperstown. After 9/11, stuff started popping up everywhere. At first it was magazines, ephemera and flags for your cars. Some folks from the New York State Museum came to our graduate program and talked about collecting fire trucks, rubble and things like that from Ground Zero. I knew there was so much more stuff that no one was noticing. We're surrounded by consumer goods all the time, so most people weren't thinking about it.
These objects were unlike anything I’d ever seen before. They set a new standard of how corporate America should respond to tragedies. There's always been this aspect of corporations saying, “We want to give back and give a portion of proceeds,” but never anything on this scale. 9/11 green-lighted this. The idea was, “Let's take the goods that we already produce and make them patriotic.”
It seems like companies were also carving out a place for themselves in the history of 9/11.
Yeah, the objects allowed the companies to put their own stamp on things. If you look at Maker’s Mark, they're well known for that wax seal. They did a red, white and blue seal right after 9/11 in 2002. It tied that specific run of whisky to the event. When have you ever seen an [alcohol] company do something like that?
Are you at all cynical about these efforts?
I'm definitely a little bit cynical. I do think that companies were trying to give back and be patriotic. But some of the stuff is over the top. At the end of the day, companies' true motivation was sales. I'm sure everyone was caught up in the moment, like "yeah let's do this, this is patriotic." And I'm sure the side conversations were "this makes us look good, people will buy this stuff and we'll earn a bit of money." It's part of their culture to produce stuff and make money. I'm not faulting them for it because it's America!
America has been a consumeristic society for a long time, though. Why didn't anything like this happen before?
I think there definitely were some examples. You can find tribute items from the JFK assassination, but never anything like a box of cereal that commemorated it. So the question becomes, why 9/11? I think maybe it was the scale of the event and how unimaginable it was that someone could carry this out on American soil. So 9/11 and New York became this rallying point for everybody, including corporate America. You had George W. Bush saying after 9/11, "Don't stop spending money, don't go hide.” Corporations saw an opportunity. This was their way of playing a big role.
wtc_truck wtc_tissues Do you distinguish between companies who donated all of their profits to charity and those who only donated some?
That's the whole thing—it's really difficult to because there was no accountability or tracking. Almost none of the objects I've collected even give a specific percent of what’s being donated. In almost all cases, it's terminology like "a percentage of the proceeds."
In the last couple years [the media] started talking about accountability of 9/11 charities, but no one ever considered this for products. I'm not saying that companies never wrote the checks, but we also don't know how much money they generated that they didn't donate. I don't know if we'll ever know.
Why do you think people bought the objects?
Buying things made people feel better. It’s such a part of American culture. It’s also the fact that money is being donated. But it’s also self-gratification and because people wanted to have a direct connection with the event. A guy in Iowa can't touch a firetruck or even see it without coming to New York and going to the State Museum. But he can buy a belt buckle made in commemoration of 9/11 at the Iowa County Fair. It's his way of touching the event.
wtc_game But it's not just a direct connection to 9/11 that people are buying with these objects, right? It's also the idea of owning a piece of history. If you only wanted to feel connected, you could donate or volunteer.
Yeah, people could have made the choice to directly donate to a charity. But they also wanted to have a piece of the event. What do you get from donating to United Way in New York City? The benefit of knowing they're making a difference, but nothing tangible. But if you go and buy that Mr. Potato Head, you get an object you can touch and feel which is also tied to September 11.
The thing I think is interesting is that many of these objects are so quotidian. Like the tissue box, for example. It encourages you to integrate memories of 9/11 into your everyday life.
Yeah, absolutely. I have a milk bottle from a family farm that you would never expect to have a tribute message about 9/11 on it. Or I have a silverware set that has the Twin Towers on the handles. The question is, would you really buy this and eat with it? That 9/11 throw pillow—are you really going to put it on the couch? I would love to know what the companies thought. I think they intended this stuff to be used, but I don't think people are actually using it.
I have one scenario in my head where they thought people would actually break this stuff out every year on 9/11. It's almost like they thought 9/11 would be the next Valentine’s Day or Halloween.
Or at least Memorial Day or Veterans Day.
Right, or the next Fourth of July. I'm not saying it won't happen, but so far I don't think the material goods have stuck.
Your first post on your blog was about a lighter you found in Dubai that shows the Twin Towers being hit by a plane, with a bust of Osama bin Laden in the foreground. What's the story behind that?
The lighter shows the other side of things, how 9/11 influenced material goods elsewhere and how the event has different meanings to some people. My parents lived in the United Arab Emirates for 10 years while I was in college. I bought the lighter from a street vendor in Dubai. My dad was pissed, he thought it was offensive and upsetting. I bought it and flew it back in my luggage, which is crazy now thinking about it.
Lighter procured in Dubai in 2002: "Two flames are given off the top of the figure's head when a side lever is pulled."
Where do you buy most of your items?
A lot of it is on eBay. In the beginning, you could find stuff in stores, but now that we're more than 10 years out it’s getting harder. I just acquired a new item on eBay, a knife from Spyderco, which is a company based in Colorado. They made a limited run shortly after 9/11, 2000-some knives using steel from the World Trade Center site.
Spyderco World Trade Center Fundraising Knife Project: Knife with WTC steel and Presentation Box.
How much did you pay for the knife?
$425. It's not a huge amount of money but they usually go for $700, $800, $900. It was a great deal so I couldn't pass it up. Another object I picked up recently was a game. There is actually a board game called "Ground Zero: It's Only a Game to the Politicians." A New York City-based guy, a former firefighter, made it and sunk a whole bunch of his own money into producing it. It's a cynical thing.
Do you have any plans for your collection in the long-term? What are you going to do with all this stuff?
I don't know. I'm not opening my own museum, that's for sure. I've recently made this connection with the curators of the 9/11 museum. I don't know if they would ever take my collection. Some of it is dicey and would upset people. I can tell you though, that if something were to happen to me my wife would reach out to them and see if they wanted it.
How much time do you spend on the collection?
I waste a lot of time and a lot of money. [Laughs] I don't see it as a waste, though I would never deny that a lot of people see it as a complete waste of time and energy. I'm not going to fight that perspective.
My wife tells me all the time she thinks it’s a bunch of crap. She hasn't tried to kill me yet over it, though. She came with me to a meeting with the curator [of the 9/11 museum] earlier this year in New York City.
wtc_tie Wouldn't other people learn more from the collection if it were stored more publicly?
This is definitely a motivating factor to make it more accessible. I've had a few people find my blog and reach out to me. Most of it is kind of funny stuff; some lady wrote a comment about this crazy sweater I have which says "Terrorists can shake our buildings but never can touch America’s foundation." It's a hokey sweater. She said, "I've got to have this sweater! Where did you get this sweater?" Once, a candle company found my blog and sent me their tribute air fresheners, which they called "Freedom fresheners."
wtc_pencils Are there other collectors of 9/11 memorabilia around?
Not really. There is a guy named Michael Ragsdale who collects paper ephemera, a lot of autographs and PR stuff, which is different from what I have. When I found him and reached out to him, he was like, "This is great, I didn't know there was anyone else out there."
You wrote on your blog that your own experience of amassing this collection is consumeristic. How is your relationship to these objects similar or different than those of their original owners?
I look at it as an ironic thing. This stuff was sold so people could buy it; now it's out there again and I'm collecting it. I'm doing the same thing that was originally intended for these objects. So it's similar, but our motivations are different. Originally, people wanted to connect with 9/11 by having a physical piece of it. For me, it was not necessarily about feeling a connection to the event but because I recognized that these objects were unique. I knew that if I didn't save them they would get thrown away and 20 years later people wouldn't remember the full impact.
So you collected them for historical significance.
Yes, that's right.

Alice Hines is a freelance writer in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter: @alicehines. Photographs courtesy of Andrew Marietta. This interview has been lightly edited.