(Reuters) - Three artifacts linked to the U.S. military raid that killed Osama bin Laden three years ago went on display at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on Sunday in advance of the 13th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.
The new exhibit at the New York museum includes a uniform shirt worn by one of the U.S Navy SEALS who took part in the raid, a brick from the compound where bin Laden died, and a commemorative coin donated by a CIA operative who relentlessly pursued the al Qaeda leader.
“This exhibit not only captures a seminal moment in American history, it also allows millions of visitors the chance to recognize the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who sacrifice so much for this country at home and abroad,” 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said in a statement.
U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011 in a surprise raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ending a nearly 10-year hunt for bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United states using hijacked jetliners.
The shirt worn by one of the Navy SEAL members in the raid bears an American flag patch on the sleeve, and is grouped with the coin, several photographs and a brick from the bin Laden compound that has been on display at the museum since May, according to the statement.The coin donated by a CIA official identified only by the alias “Maya” bears the date of the raid on one side and a red X on the other to specify that a key target in the post-9/11 quest for justice had been killed, the news release said.
The 9/11 museum has drawn about 900,000 visitors since opening in May, while the Memorial structure has had more than 15 million visitors since opening in September 2011. Both are located at the site of the World Trade Center towers toppled in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler