Several members of the FDNY and the family members place blue ribbons on a black railing at the foot of the Last Column.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

Rescue and Recovery Workers

In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, tens of thousands of men and women from across the nation and around the world responded and participated in the rescue, recovery, and relief operations in New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Admission to the Museum is complimentary for our Rescue & Recovery community; plan your visit here

It was an unprecedented operation of removing two million tons of debris alongside fires that burned for over 100 days, leaving those who responded exposed to hazards and toxins that resulted in chronic illnesses and deaths of thousands.  

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum recognizes their courage and selflessness, and honors their ongoing sacrifices. 

9/11 Memorial Glade

Six stone monoliths border the pathway of the 9/11 Memorial Glade. There are three monoliths on each side of the path. Trees with bright green leaves stand to the left and right and also off in the distance.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

This dedicated space honors the ongoing sacrifice of rescue, recovery, and relief workers, and the survivors and members of the broader lower Manhattan community, who are sick or have died from exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. 

May 30 Commemoration

Colored roses on the Memorial Glade, with a crowd visible in the background

On May 30, 2002, the Last Column, draped in the American flag, was removed from Ground Zero in an honor guard procession to mark the end of the nine-month rescue, recovery, and relief efforts at the World Trade Center site. 

Each year, we commemorate the  May 30 anniversary  with a ceremony on the Memorial plaza, where we honor the courage and sacrifice of 9/11 rescue, recovery, and relief workers, commemorate those who have died due to 9/11-related illnesses, and recognize the spirit of survivors and members of the downtown community with a special ceremony. We also mark this anniversary with a series of programs and events.  

Rescue & Recovery Workers Registry

The Rescue & Recovery Workers Registry documents participants in the rescue, recovery, investigation, cleanup, and relief efforts after 9/11 in New York City; Arlington, Virginia; and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

Registered individuals are eligible for free admission to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. 

This is separate from the rescue and recovery workers mailing list and is only used for purposes of documentation and sharing your experience.

Rescue & Recovery Workers and Family Mailing List

Photo by Monika Graff

If you are a rescue and recovery worker or a family member of a rescue and recovery worker who died from a 9/11-related illness and would like to receive updates from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum regarding news and events related to this community, please complete this form.

This is separate from the Rescue & Recovery Workers registry and is only used for purposes of communication.

In Their Own Voices

Three men wearing hard hats, covered in dust, at Ground Zero
Photo by Andrea Booher

On May 30, 2022, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the end to formal rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero. Leading up to that milestone, we began an ongoing project compiling short Q&As with members of this community, from city agency workers who spent months on the pile to civilian volunteers, lower Manhattan residents, and everyone in between. Through these interviews, we strive to represent the diversity and scope of the unprecedented efforts at the site of the attacks and the unending impact that has touched thousands of families and individuals. More Q&As will be added regularly going forward. 

Illness & Advocacy

Two workers get their boots washed by two other workers in yellow hazmat uniforms.
Collection 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Photograph © Steve Spak

Hundreds of thousands of people in New York City, at the Pentagon, and at the crash site in Shanksville, PA were exposed to dust, debris, and traumatic events, and physically and emotionally stressful conditions on and after September 11, 2001. Over time, the WTC Health Program was created to provide medical monitoring and treatment for WTC-related health conditions. Use the button below for more information about the WTC Health Program and the advocacy efforts that led to its creation. 

Inside the Collection

Protest sign with the text "There are No Words That Express Our Suffering" and images of medical supplies like prescription bottles

Above: After responding to the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11, paramedic Freddie Noboa aided in the rescue and recovery for more than two weeks. Within a year, his health began a steep decline. By 2008, Noboa believed he had "transformed from a healthy man to an old man," taking 23 different medications at any given time. Noboa created this protest sign filled with empty prescription bottles and used it while advocating at public rallies for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. 

To learn more about the scope of the Museum’s permanent collection, please visit  Inside the Collection, an online catalog with a searchable database of select objects. The database is continually growing to bring more of the Museum’s rich holdings to a wider audience.  

Give to the Collection

Battered work boots covered in dust and debris

Above: Brian Smith, an FDNY Battalion 31 Emergency Medical Specialist, was finishing a shift at his unit’s firehouse in Brooklyn on the morning of 9/11. As he left the station, he witnessed hijacked Flight 11 hit the North Tower. Smith deployed the site to help establish a triage center, and survived the collapse of both towers. Smith served at Ground Zero during the recovery period searching for the remains of victims, including his father, FDNY Hazmat Company 1 Firefighter Kevin Joseph Smith

The Museum is actively accepting donations to the permanent collection. If you have objects, documents, or images of a historical or commemorative nature, or a story to share that you believe might be of interest to the Museum, please tell us about them by using the link below.  

Foundation Hall

View of Foundation Hall showing the Last Column, visitors milling, display cases, and large-scale projected images in the background
Photo by David E. Starke

The 9/11 Memorial Museum's Foundation Hall is home to artifacts and objects like the Last Column that speak to the resiliency and courage of this community.  

Foundation Hall is also home to the installation “Dust: Illness and Advocacy After 9/11,” which explores the effects of the toxic dust that blanketed city streets and coated the insides of homes, businesses, and schools after the attacks. It also highlights the years-long lobbying efforts of 9/11 advocates who came together to secure congressional funding for immediate and long-term medical monitoring, as well as research and treatment programs. 

Illness and Advocacy After 9/11

Three men in red hard hats, covered in dust, stand on the pile at Ground Zero

Central to the 9/11 narrative is what happened after the towers fell, the thousands of stories of response and recovery; the diversity and sheer number of people who have died from or are currently living with illness and trauma; and the incredible advocacy efforts to secure congressional funding for immediate and long-term medical monitoring, research, and treatment programs through the World Trade Center Health program.

Learn more

Become a Member

A man holds a boy as the two observe an object out of view in Foundation Hall. The two of them are framed by a piece of bent structural beam from the World Trade Center.

Support our mission and receive exclusive admission benefits including free and expedited entry for you and your guests. 

Learn more