The NATO Archives contributes special gifts for the Secretary General’s visit to the National September 11th Memorial Museum

  • 27 Sep. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 09 Nov. 2015 14:22

To support Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to the National September 11th Memorial Museum in New York on September 27th, 2015, the NATO Archives prepared two special gifts as tokens of appreciation for the donation of a piece of the World Trade Center that will be displayed at the new NATO Headquarters. Both of the gifts were conceived as symbolic reminders of NATO’s ongoing solidarity and commitment to the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with National 9/11 Museum President and CEO Joe Daniels (left) and US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute (right), browses through the commemorative book of NATO documents.

The first gift was a unique hardcover book that told the story of the 9/11 attacks through a collection of publicly disclosed NATO documents and photos. The story begins with NATO’s immediate reaction: the statements made by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and the North Atlantic Council decrying the attacks, eventually leading to the announcements of NATO’s invocation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty for the first time in the Alliance’s history. The documents also spotlight NATO’s support to the United States, and the news of NATO’s assumption and eventual termination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. The book concludes with a statement by Secretary General Stoltenberg about the importance of the ISAF flag as a symbol of NATO’s enduring commitment, which he delivered on the occasion of its handover back to NATO HQ earlier this year.        

The Secretary General decided that the second gift to be donated would be an ISAF flag that had been flown in-theatre during the mission. Thanks to  the assistance of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, an ISAF flag was quickly delivered from Kabul to NATO Headquarters for its formal preparation and presentation to its new home in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. In his accompanying letter of thanks to Joe Daniels, the President and CEO of the museum, Secretary General Stoltenberg reiterated his earlier statement about the symbolic importance of the ISAF flag as a gift that embodied the joint efforts of 50 nations who, for over a decade, came together in transatlantic unity:

At NATO, we also remember the 9/11 attacks. And we remain committed to the bond between the United States and Europe, which was only strengthened that fateful day. From the invocation of our pledge to collective defence, to the tens of thousands of troops sent to Afghanistan by our member and partner countries, we have stood and will remain side-by-side with the United States.