The objects' story was not yet over. On October 6, 2001, two seemingly innocuous letters traveled through Washington's Brentwood mailing center. Addressed to Senators Daschle and Leahy, the letters contained anthrax in a fine powdery form. As the letters flew through the mail sorting equipment, especially the optical character reader, they were squeezed between other letters, releasing some of their spores into the facility. The postal service shut down the Brentwood mail facility on October 21, 2001, after two postal workers died from anthrax inhalation. Among the millions of stranded and possibly contaminated mail left in the building were the two boxes of objects from New York City's Church Street Post Office.
By the time the last of the items selected for the National Postal Museum reached the museum (following the reclamation and decontamination of Brentwood), they had become part of a second tragic story and the Museum staff all too soon found themselves faced with discussions over the suitability of collecting items from a national tragedy. This is a discussion that continues.