Photo credit: 9/11 Memorial staff
Accession Number: C.2012.90.1
Dimensions: 3.375 in X 2.125 in
Dimensions (Metric): 8.5725 cm X 5.3975 cm
Credit Line: Anonymous Gift
World Trade Center site identification card issued to Barbara Butcher of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The card includes a photograph, the logos for the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service, and printed text: "BARBARA BUTCHER | NYC Medical Examiner | Department of Health and Human Services | U.S. Public Health Service | National Disaster Medical System | WTC | New York | 09-11-2001." The card includes an image of an American flag and the Twin Towers.
Barbara Butcher learned about the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, while at home in New Jersey. Then a Medico Legal Investigator for New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Butcher used her credentials to bypass police barricades, arriving at the OCME offices on First Avenue and 30th Street in the afternoon. There she joined colleagues who were establishing processes and procedures to receive, investigate, and identify the bodies of those who had been killed. Anticipating that they would be receiving thousands of bodies, the staff set up a dedicated morgue on premises. They soon realized, however, that they were confronting a vastly different and far greater challenge of respectfully identifying an overwhelming and unknown number of badly damaged human remains. Attempting to understand the scale of that mission, Butcher and her colleagues visited the disaster scene under the leadership of Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Hirsch, who had been wounded in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Eventually named Chief of Staff for the OCME, Butcher participated in the recovery, identification, preservation, and return of thousands of human remains for many years until her retirement in 2013. She wore a hard hat, respirator, and credentials on many visits to Ground Zero.