52 Commemorative Objects

A sign that the collective memory of September 2001 is passing from trauma into history is its inexorable infusion into commerce. By some mysterious alchemy of modern capitalism, the past becomes merchandise and shared tragedy turns into kitsch. For all of the debate that is raging about an official memorial at the Trade Center site, each of the ephemeral souvenirs and relics of Sept. 11 is, in its own way, a monument in miniature.