we are war
® newsstand 1993 – 2001
from the American National Histography Collection
sponsored by the Ford Motor Company

The newsstand, in defiance of Freedom’s enemies, remained standing at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It represents one of the rare unbroken artifacts of Ground Zero and marks a unique moment in the soul of America.

The newsstand’s proprietor, Dusman Gonzaga, set up the booth each day, save Thursdays, on the World Trade Plaza. Here he would sell issues of the magazine, we are war®.

Gonzaga had dedicated the final chapter of his life to distribution of the magazine. He became inspired to take on this task on February 26, 1993, in the immediate aftermath of the first attack on the World Trade Center. He had been nearby, heard the explosion, and rushed to help. As he stood surveying the scene, Gonzaga opened his hands and turned his palms toward the sky in anguish. A piece of paper landed in them.

The piece of paper was a certificate granting “the right of the bearer to distribute the magazine known as we are war®.” As part of a legal settlement of the well-publicized case of Ford Motor Company v. we are war, the defendants had agreed to grant the license, and the plaintiffs had agreed to enjoin their Service Department from “disrupting, through violence or subterfuge, the exercise of said license.”

Moved by the events of the day, Gonzaga decided to construct his newsstand and sell the magazine.

On September 11, 2001, the booth survived the terrorist attacks and subsequent destruction of the Twin Towers. According to The New York Times account of the day’s events:

[The] newsstand remained. It stands as a gesture symbolic of our national will to remain steadfast in the face of a danger so great it rivals all of history before it. . . .

A large steel safe, doors forced open by the blast, dropped squarely over the shack protecting and preserving it in its entirety. The contents of the safe, a cloth bag containing eighty-six Krugerrands, however, ended the life of the stand’s proprietor, Dusman Gonzaga.

The complex and labyrinthine history that brings the we are war® newsstand into the American National Histography Collection makes it difficult to attribute authorship to any individual. At the Ford Motor Company, we like to think of it as another gift to the American people from Henry Ford.

Viewers are advised to keep their distance, as all ephemera from the WTC site is known to contain unhealthy levels of hazardous substances.

The exhibition of this object is made possible by the generous directive of the Alliance for American Histography, a member of the Halliburton Family of Companies.


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