Excerpted from The New York Post:
This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.
Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.
Shulan had worked on a popular post-9/11 photography exhibit called “Here is New York” in Soho when he was hired by Alice Greenwald, director of the museum, for his “unique approach.”
Eventually, chief curator Jan Ramirez proposed a compromise, Greenspan writes. The Franklin shot was minimized in favor of three different photos via three different angles of the flag-raising scene.
“Several images undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment,’ Ramirez said, and suggest instead an event from multiple points of view, like the attacks more broadly,” the book says.
“Shulan didn’t like three photographs more than he liked one, but he went along with it.”
Shulan told The Post he didn’t know that the way Greenspan described the discussion about the photographs “is the way that I would have.”
“My concern, as it always was, is that we not reduce [9/11] down to something that was too simple, and in its simplicity would actually distort the complexity of the event, the meaning of the event,” he said. Keep reading