On Sunday, the National September 11 Memorial Museum unveiled some items related to the successful 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s home in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The new exhibit includes the shirt a still-unnamed Navy SEAL was wearing when he shot bin Laden, a coin given to a CIA officer who helped track the Al Qaeda leader down, and a brick taken from the hideout.
The museum described the objects in a press release:
The shirt has an American flag patch on the sleeve colored black and brown. The flag is backwards, as done on such military shirts in a symbolic gesture referencing the era when the flag-bearer led soldiers behind him on the charge to battle.
The exhibition is also comprised of a so-called challenge coin, which was donated by “Maya,” the alias for the CIA operative who pursued bin Laden, and a brick recovered from the compound where the al-Qaeda leader was killed .. The challenge coin was created to commemorate the successful operation that eliminated bin Laden. One side of the coin is marked “May 1, 2011,” the U.S. date when the operation occurred. The other side shows a red “X” mark.
In case you forgot, Maya (not her real name) was the inspiration for Jessica Chastain’s character in Zero Dark Thirty.
The museum’s president, Joe Daniels, acknowledged that displaying the items — or, as some will surely see them, trophies — might “engender discussion” like that of the institution’s treatment of Islam. But, he said, “I think most people will believe it belongs there. It is a part of the story, whatever you think of its symbolism or its meaning.” Unlike, say, a cheese plate.