The 9/11 Memorial & Museum hung the last portrait Wednesday within its in memoriam exhibition, bringing a long, historic journey to a close.
The subterranean museum honors the 2,977 lives lost during the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks by displaying photographs of the murdered men and women through a striking 360-degree display. Deemed a living memorial, visitors are looked upon by the eyes of stollen loved ones. However, tracking down the images of the lost wasn’t so easy.
According to Alice M. Greenwald, CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, pursuing the final images took a great deal of detective work and help from partners in order to make certain those who died in the tragedy could be honored.
“There is a sense of dedication here that is profound. It’s an obligation to each one of the victims and their families and their loved ones that we will honor them,” Greenwald said.
After exhaustive efforts that included aid from Homeland Security, the Museum was left with one missing photograph. Forty-three-year-old Antonio Dorsey Pratt, a food service provider who unfortunately lost his life on September 11 remained the final missing piece of the puzzle until June 29.
Voices Center for Resilience is a support and resource organization that promotes mental health care and wellness for victims’ families, responders, survivors, and families of those who have died of 9/11-related illnesses. The group is a long-time contributor of photos to the project and they discovered that they actually had Pratt’s photograph after the previous images were installed but didn’t initially realize it was a missing photo.
“A friend of his (Pratt) had called us and said he wanted to share with us a photo of a friend and colleague. It wasn’t until the following year, really around the time of the 20th anniversary, that he contacted our office and was able to send us the digital photograph,” Mary Fetchet, co-founder of Voices Center for Resilience said.
The momentous placement of the final photograph not only is a remarkable achievement for the museum on its mission to honor the lives of human beings who were taken too soon, but also for Greenwald herself. The CEO will be retiring in the coming months and this final addition serves as a fitting send-off for her.
“This is one of the most meaningful experiences of my tenure here,” Greenwald said.
Pratt was one of 20 staff members working on the 101st Floor in the North Towers for Cantor Fitzgerald Forte Food Service. The native New Yorker has been said by colleagues to be a hard worker who became a mentor for others. His supervisor, Jordan Freeman told Voices Center for Resilience that “Tony was a shining star.”