Iconic Ground Zero Photo Too American, Nearly Banned From 9/11 Museum

The iconic Ground Zero image of three New York City firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble of the World Trade Center was nearly disincluded from a planned 9/11 museum for being too “rah rah American,” The New York Post is reporting.

The Post’s framing of the iconic Ground Zero image being too “rah rah American” seems a bit inflammatory, and the issue regarding planning in the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a bit more complex, the paper admits further into the article.

The paper says Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, objected to the inclusion of the image citing the “rah rah American” phrase, but later explains that Shulan and colleagues were concerned that the picture was an overexposed and simplistic view of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

The Post quotes Shulan on the Ground Zero photo controversy as saying that the issue was somewhat misconstrued in the telling, and he elaborates:

“My concern, as it always was, is that we not reduce [9/11] down to something that was too simple, and in its simplicity would actually distort the complexity of the event, the meaning of the event.”

The controversy stems from a new book, “Battle For Ground Zero,” by author Elizabeth Greenspan. In the publication, she eventually says that curator Jan Ramirez proposed a compromise to honor the Ground Zero flag raising iconic image without the “rah rah American” component.

Greenspan writes:

“Several images undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment,’ Ramirez said, and suggest instead an event from multiple points of view, like the attacks more broadly.”

Shulan was also quoted as saying:

“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently.”

Do you think the 9/11 Ground Zero flag raising image is too American to represent the history of the day in a nuanced way?