Photo credit: 9/11 Memorial staff
Accession Number: C.2011.875.3
Dimensions: 11 ¾ in X 5 in X 3 ½ in
Dimensions (Metric): 27.94 cm X 12.7 cm X 7.62 cm
Credit Line: Donated by Christopher F. Hardej
Pair of brown leather men's shoes covered in encrusted dust, with the most significant accumulation of dust around the laces. There are scuff marks on the leather near the heels.
Christopher Hardej was in his office on the 82nd floor of the North Tower when Flight 11 slammed into the building. As a trained National Guardsman familiar with emergency procedures, he instinctively got down on the floor and crawled to the middle of the office away from the windows. With his colleagues, he moved toward the stairwell and they began their evacuation.
Hardej reached the concourse level right as the South Tower began to collapse, forcing debris through the underground mall. Hardej held on to a marble support beam until the force dissipated and he was able to reconnect with two coworkers. The three of them made their way through the darkness and debris by forming a human chain with other people near them, eventually making their way out of the building. The group was several blocks away when the North Tower collapsed.
Hardej kept the shoes he was wearing, along with some articles of clothing, to remember his experience on 9/11.