Ground Zero Bible – 9/11 Artifact

Paper from a Bible, fused to a piece of steel, was found in the debris shortly after 9/11 by a fireman and given to photographer Joel Meyerowitz. In 2010, he gave it to the September 11 Memorial Museum. Video originally shown on ( Reposted for educational purposes.

Whenever a fire, or a tragedy happens in a particular place, the instinct would be to search for any valuable things from the ruins. The recognizable material taken from the residues always conveys the thought that the found thing must be telling something important or extraordinary.

Usually, the firemen, police force, and photographers roam in, out, within or around the site. Cleaners will come in last after these men are done with their business and the primary investigation related to the cause of the tragedy has been found out.

Five months after the 9/11 attacks, the firefighters and photographers were still searching in the destroyed area looking for any valuable sign, clues or materials of relevance. One firefighter called the attention of photographer Joel Meyerowitz about a burnt bible he found and handed it to him as a symbolic material of the 9/11 tragedy. He saw the burnt bible in a metal had the page on Matthew 5 preserved. There were other passages in the page that he could legibly read but what caught Meyerowitz’s eye was the heading ‘Retaliation’, in red letter. Red letter parts in the Bible mean the words were quoted by the Lord Jesus Himself.  He particularly singled out Matthew 5:38-39, sensing a strong feeling that the passages, or God, were telling something to the world.

Matthew 5:38-39 tells of ‘an eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth,’ and ‘whoever smite thee on thy right cheek, you turn the other to him also.’ Meyerowitz knows the main message of the passages is about God teaching men to give absolute forgiveness to those who have wronged them.

It is marvelous enough that a fragile paper survived a massive fire. And that fragile paper is a page from the Bible. And passages from the fragile paper that were preserved from the fire was Jesus’ teaching that men ought to love and forgive one another.

We need only to hear the news every day that vicious things are continuously happening around us. Some of the wicked things may spare us or directly affect us. In both instances, God wants us to be accustomed to the worsening trend so we would learn to forgive others, per God’s instruction, when we become the subject of misery. This we must keep in mind until redemption time when God finally judges all of us according to our deeds.