It was one of those events you remember exactly where you were when it happened. For me I was in all places Los Angeles, CA on a business trip. I had only arrived the evening before, and I typically try to stay on Eastern time for a couple of days if my trip will not be too long. So, I was up early by local time watching the national news on TV. I see one of the World Trade Center towers with smoke coming out of it. The television reporter says no one knows exactly what is going on but the thought is a small plane crashed into the tower. Then as I continue to watch this unfold on live TV, I see a second plane crash into the other tower. It was in the split instance I knew this was no accident and no small plane involved.
Thankfully, I knew of no one directly that lost their lives in this terrorist attack. But I was drawn to follow the news story with interest. Perhaps it was because I originally was a New Yorker. Perhaps it was because I have a cousin that was working in the basement of the same building when a bomb went off years earlier (he was OK).
I used photography to remember what happened. I can’t remember if I photographed the first tribute of light, but I was drawn to it light a moth to a flame. Then I realized it was possible to get close enough to photograph the remembrance I started to do it. I didn’t go yearly. Some years the weather was poor, or my schedule was busy. But it was nice when I was able to go.
I typically go to Liberty State Park in NJ along with thousands of others. On my bucket list is being able to get up close to the lights and photograph them from “within.”
As the years have gone by Liberty State Park added more memorials for everyone to remember what happened.
What’s you 9/11 story? How has it impacted your life?
Well, it’s 2020, and 9/11 has come and gone once again. I’ve visited the lights and shapes that commemorate 9/11 at Liberty State Park several times. People ask me why I go back more than once. “Don’t I see the same thing every time I go?” Never. This year was special.
Maybe it was because it’s the year of COVID 19 and a pandemic. Maybe it’s because the weather was beautiful this year on 9/11 – just like our weather was on 9/11/01. Maybe it’s because I’ve always lived in the NY/NJ area my entire life. Maybe it’s because I’m a member of my local fire department. Maybe it’s because I love creating images. Maybe it’s because of something else…
There’s steel from the World Trade Centers on display in many places including the Greenwich Emergency Squad right here in Stewartsville, NJ. Every time I see it, it gives me chills and goosebumps. I start to think of what this steel must have gone through to look like this. Then I think of what all the people that were in or under the towers must have gone through. Then I think of the families of the survivors…
The NYC sky line is what I’m drawn to first. Even though it’s very familiar to me, it hold a special importance. But this year I also wanted to create some images to put a spiritual connection to what happened here.