It is ten years tomorrow since the horrible events of September 11 occurred. All that are old enough to remember that day remember it with stories of where they were and what was going on. I remember being home, I remember the stunned, shocked, horror. I remember people pouring out of homes, businesses, schools, to reach out to neighbors, strangers, friends, and family. I remember silent skies as the normal jets that go over, carrying people from destination to destination, were grounded. But, my memories are those set in an Iowa town, miles and hours away from New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. So, the uncertainty was tempered with distance.
For those in those locations, the distance was no comfort. And, our psyche demands that we at some point deal with the horrific around us. One gallery, sitting very close to what was then Ground Zero, hit upon an idea that resonated with many, and served as an outlet by telling the story of what happened and was happening through stills. Single moments caught in time by cameras, professional and amateur photographers alike provided these photos, and a collection of over five thousand photos were gathered. The stories these photos tell is profound, provoking the heart to increase over the agony, tears to well, pride in the rescue workers and survivors to fill you to your toes, and the story of each still to tell part of the story.
In an attempt to tell the story and raise funds for children of those who were victims of this mass murder, the book and website was created, “Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs”. Now, ten years later, the website is kept alive by volunteers who recognize the importance of the voice of the people in the healing of our country. It isn’t a pretty thing, not a pleasure like looking at photos of a child’s first birthday or the beautiful poses of a bride to be. But, these stills tells a story that has hit us all.It is ten years tomorrow, and I have not forgotten. I was at home. I was beyond dismayed. I wanted my friends and family, to just reach out to them. I lit candles. I hung a flag. I was angry. I was burdened. I didn’t know what to think. I am proud of those who served, in the immediate aftermath, and those who took on the new burden of being soldiers in far away troubled lands. I am dismayed at the politicizing. I am proud at the healing that has occurred. I have not, nor will I forget.