9.11.2001 + 19

Smoke and chaos in the streets downtown Manhattan, 9.11.2001.

19 years ago today, this is what downtown Manhattan looked like.

Terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center and it seemed as if life would never be the same. In the days and weeks that followed we kept saying to each other, “is this real?” We knew that it was real, but somehow, I think we hoped that we could blink our eyes and click our heels and the nightmare would end.

The world has changed so much since September 11, 2001. But the strength of the human spirit has not. As we face so many challenges in our world of 2020, perhaps we can remember not only the tragedy and loss of life on that clear beautiful September day, but also, the love, tenacity and resiliency of the families and friends of the victims left behind to pick up the pieces. Which, of course, includes all of us. Here are a few images from that time of rebuilding:

We stood and stared at the empty air above the wreckage: The piece of sky that our World Trade Center had once occupied. Cranes lowered first responders into the site. There would be no more survivors, but now they hoped to recover the bodies of the fallen.

Surveying the damage from Rector Street.

Memorials sprung up all over the city. Prayers, poetry, and photos of the missing loved ones were scattered like confetti on the sidewalks.

From all over the country, help arrived. The West Side Highway near the Javitts Center became a staging area. People did whatever they could, including knitting booties to protect the feet of the rescue dogs walking among the smoldering ruins. I remember volunteering at Cantor Fitzgerald, a NYC firm that had headquartered in the World Trade Center. We made phone calls and updated records to help the families of those who had died in the attack.

The National Guard was on the west side as well. We were so glad to see them.

And everywhere, the sound of the bagpipes. As the recovery efforts continued, the funerals began. Each day brought fresh tears and the mournful sound of the pipes. This drawing was made at the funeral of Carl Bedigian, a firefighter who left us too soon. His wife steps back in time yearly to honor her husband – sending you love today Michele.

Please visit September 11th, 2001: Words and Pictures to purchase the memorial book of drawings from 9/11.

A portion of the proceeds is donated to the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation in honor of Carl Bedigian.

Comment (1)

  1. Amy Forsyth

    So moving. Thank you, Ronnie.

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