By Mariel S. Clark
MANHATTAN — Thousands of drawings and letters that were sent to New York firefighters from children after the Sept. 11 attacks are coming home to Manhattan as part of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
The "Dear Hero" collection, so named because it was the greeting used in many of the children's letters, consists of more than 3,000 items sent from around the country and the world.
The collection, most of which has been sitting in storage in Cincinnati, Ohio, will arrive in New York Wednesday.
It includes thousands of notes and drawings as well as ceramic angels, quilts, and a U.S. flag made of paper. Some items were sent from overseas, such as a flag signed by Italians, a banner from Pakistan and origami "peace" cranes from Japanese children.
“At a time the world was left paralyzed with fear, and many adults were uncertain about what tomorrow would bring, a sense of hope emerged from children around the globe,” said 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels in a statement.
“You are always told that children are the future, and they are. But these youngsters have also proved children can make a powerful impact on the preservation of the past.”
Tanya Hoggard, a flight attendant who volunteered at Ground Zero after the attacks, started the collection after she learned items sent to fire stations near the World Trade Center site would eventually be thrown away.
Over the next year, Hoggard filled suitcases and duffle bags with the cards and letters and brought them home with her to Cincinnati.
Hoggard tried to find a permanent home for the collection and eventually learned of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
The 9/11 Memorial is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2011 and the museum in the fall of 2012.