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Tragedy in September

Emma Thornton's route covered floors 77 through 110 of Tower 1. It was the first to be struck that day. 10048 and 10047 were the ZIP codes for the World Trade Center buildings. Neither code exists today. On the morning of September 11, the employees of Church Street Station Post Office were busy at work inside the building, across the street from the World Trade Center. Thornton was preparing her mail for delivery. She stepped outside for a break. In this video, Thornton explains what happened that day.

On September 11, 2001, America experienced the worst terrorist attack ever. Thousands of lives were lost and others were injured as the World Trade Center vanished from the New York skyline.

Church Street Station adjacent to Ground Zero
Church Street Station adjacent to Ground Zero. Twenty-nine postal vehicles were destroyed when Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed in the afternoon of September 11, 2001.
Church Street Station adjacent to Ground Zero. Twenty-nine postal vehicles were destroyed when Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed in the afternoon of September 11, 2001.

Many postal workers responded to the chaos and confusion of that fateful day with selfless deeds. Supervisors, clerks and letter carriers alike aided those who survived the horrific tragedy.

Interior of an office at the Church Street Station after the World Trade Center collapse.
Interior of an office at the Church Street Station after the World Trade Center collapse.
Interior of an office at the Church Street Station after the World Trade Center collapse.

At the Jersey City station, stunned survivors were transported to shelters and train stops in postal trucks. Those who stumbled past the Brooklyn post office were offered a cool drink of water. A supervisor at the Church Street station near Ground Zero saved countless lives by evacuating the building before the 110-story twin towers collapsed.

Postal Inspectors, aided by National Guard members, remove mail from the Church Street Post Office in the week following the attacks.
Postal Inspectors, aided by National Guard members, remove mail from the Church Street Post Office in the week following the attacks.
Postal Inspectors, aided by National Guard members, remove mail from the Church Street Post Office in the week following the attacks.

Postal Inspectors, a Postal Inspectors Chaplain and a Postal Inspectors Police Officer, aided by National Guard members, remove mail from the Church Street Post Office in the week following the attacks.
Because these inspectors are early to the scenes of plane crashes and other disasters from which mail is to be located and secured, they are offered counseling assistance.
Because these inspectors are early to the scenes of plane crashes and other disasters from which mail is to be located and secured, they are offered counseling assistance.

Mail Sorting Unit 24D-2, used by USPS employee, Emma Thornton, from the Church Street Post Office Station, New York, NY.
Mail Sorting Unit 24D-2, used by USPS employee, Emma Thornton, from the Church Street Post Office Station, New York, NY. It was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center. The mail sorting unit is a table with a sorting case attached to the back of the table top. Six cardboard shelves have been added to provide additional sorting units. This sorting unit was used to sort mail for various routes inside the World Trade Center. Some of its stops included Cantor Fitzgerald, Fred Alger and Met Life.
Mail Sorting Unit 24D-2, used by USPS employee, Emma Thornton, from the Church Street Post Office Station, New York, NY. It was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.
The mail sorting unit is a table with a sorting case attached to the back of the table top. Six cardboard shelves have been added to provide additional sorting units. This sorting unit was used to sort mail for various routes inside the World Trade Center. Some of its stops included Cantor Fitzgerald, Fred Alger and Met Life.

Read about the acquisition of the 9/11 objects:
September 11, 2001 – Collecting and Exhibiting a National Tragedy

Pre-inked hand cancellation stamp
Pre-inked hand cancellation stamp collected from a postal window on the ground floor of the Church Street Station Post Office, New York, New York. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Pre-inked hand cancellation stamp collected from a postal window on the ground floor of the Church Street Station Post Office, New York, New York. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.

Handstamp collected from the World Trade Center mail sorting station on the fourth floor of the Church Street Station Post Office, New York, New York. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Handstamp collected from the World Trade Center mail sorting station on the fourth floor of the Church Street Station Post Office, New York, New York. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Handstamp collected from the World Trade Center mail sorting station on the fourth floor of the Church Street Station Post Office, New York, New York. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.

Clipboard with Record of Entry into Registry Section sheets, used on September 11, 2001 by the Church Street Post Office.
Clipboard with Record of Entry into Registry Section sheets, used on September 11, 2001 by the Church Street Post Office.
Clipboard with Record of Entry into Registry Section sheets, used on September 11, 2001 by the Church Street Post Office.

Letter opener used at the Church Street Post Office which serviced the World Trade Center postal routes.
Letter opener used at the Church Street Post Office which serviced the World Trade Center postal routes.
Letter opener used at the Church Street Post Office which serviced the World Trade Center postal routes.

Street collection mailbox located at 90 Church Street, New York, NY. This mailbox was located in front of the Church Street Post Office and across the street from World Trade Center Building 5 on September 11, 2001. The mailbox suffered minimal damage resulting from the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Street collection mailbox located at 90 Church Street, New York, NY. This mailbox was located in front of the Church Street Post Office and across the street from World Trade Center Building 5 on September 11, 2001. The mailbox suffered minimal damage resulting from the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Street collection mailbox located at 90 Church Street, New York, NY. This mailbox was located in front of the Church Street Post Office and across the street from World Trade Center Building 5 on September 11, 2001. The mailbox suffered minimal damage resulting from the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

US Mail satchel delivery cart with satchel.
US Mail satchel delivery cart with satchel. The cart has a collapsible handle and a brake for the front wheels. This cart was used by Robin Correta to deliver mail on Route 32 to World Trade Center building 6. The cart was manufactured by the Peco Manufacturing Company of Portland, OR.
US Mail satchel delivery cart with satchel. The cart has a collapsible handle and a brake for the front wheels. This cart was used by Robin Correta to deliver mail on Route 32 to World Trade Center building 6. The cart was manufactured by the Peco Manufacturing Company of Portland, OR.