My first inkling that something was very wrong on 9-11, were the sounds of emergency vehicles and fire engines early in the morning. On that picture perfect September day, I had received a phone call from one of my friends, who had a similar view from his window- a huge dark plume of smoke was billowing and trailing south from one of the Twin Towers. I turned on the TV to find only channel 2 able to broadcast the live pictures. This was minutes before 9 AM. (But I was supposed to be on a cruise boat on the Hudson heading south at that time and my shooting partner was running late.)
How could any pilot hit one of the towers on such a beautiful crisp perfect fall day? I watched in horror, fear, and anxiety as the second plane hit the other tower. It was clear we were under attack. As the hours unfolded, I watched the towers fall before my eyes. I watched the huge cloud of debris cover lower Manhattan. I have no words to express my horror.
I had already secured an online connection, proceeded to email family and friends, while trying to make other phone calls out,
with overloaded circuits and difficulties making any interstate calls. By 2PM, most of my family and friends were accounted for and I was grateful. However, locally the restaurants in the neighborhood were having their gas turned off and closing. Bars were full to capacity since all the roads were closed, CNN was on the tube, and the drinks were flowing fast.
The disbelief was visible on everyone's faces; everyone had "the look." However, as the fire continued to burn, the wind shifted...and the unbelievable stench of burning steel, flesh, plastic, paper, concrete, smell of death began to blanket the area. I stayed in New York City for ten days through this period of shock. Some people have the "flee or fight" attitude. I chose to flee. I was one of those people stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to head out of town, ten days later, when I thought things had calmed down slightly. I was wrong. I was exhausted. I had to go away.
But I digress. I am trying to explain why I feel so strongly about working on the World Trade Center Memorial. Months and months later, I was checking various searches for WTC wallpaper on the web and came upon images of 9-11, that are horrific and more than disturbing. The photographer posted these images somewhat anonymously, in the context of "censored" images. Since the WTC area was a crime scene, certain images were not to remain in the lay person photographer's possession. The police removed the images from the digital camera, but the photographer had some form of undelete software to be able to restore the images.
These images, which I will call the [Hard2c] Images, are linked in the following text.....Please DO NOT OPEN if you are under 25 years old, please do not open if you are unable to see harsh graphic images of that day.
[Hard2c]Images, made me extremely angry. I was angry at the photographer, angry at the day, angry at the horror and blood and gore. I was angry that I had no way of writing to the photographer.
Months later I came to realize that I had to see these images. I had to understand the level of pain and suffering beyond the destruction of the architecture. I was angry that I had to wonder about that loved ones spouse or parent or friend, finding these images and seeing them this way. I felt that it was more important than ever, to submit a proposal with my heart and soul and prayers.