Are November 22, 1963 and September 11th, 2001. I can tell you exactly where I was on both of those dates and what I was doing. On the morning of September 12th, I was walking my dog as normal and I could sense that something was different. It took me a moment, but I realized it was the sky.
It was the absolute quietness of the sky. Not a plane could be seen or heard. The FAA had grounded all civilian air traffic the day before.
Two years later, I visited Manhattan for the first time in my life. Stayed at a little hotel at midtown run by Catholic nuns.
They all had their stories of where they were that day.
I went down to the financial district and took a picture of the NY Stock Exchange.
A policeman with a submachine gun told me not to take pictures. I showed him that I had deleted them on my little digital camera.
I went into St Paul’s chapel which had turned into a bit of a museum. It was a haven for rescue workers.
Then I walked to the site of the WTC.
No pictures the news media showed ever really did the devastation justice.
Of course, 2 years later all the the wreckage had been cleared. All that was left was a hole. A massive hole. The length and width was hard for me to estimate.
It had to have been 5 stories-10 stories deep. A subway tube that was severed – a subway apparently went into the WTC – looked minuscule – tractor-trailers looked – tiny.
I walked a half block or so to see the firehouse that had the first rescuers on the scene – and had lost so many. I took a picture and a fireman inside just looked at me as if I was violating a consecrated place.
I felt after the picture that I was.
Here’s a few more pictures I took from that day.
A good book of that day details the lives of some who survived, and some who didn’t.
From a different perspective – that of ATC – Air Traffic Control – is Touching History.
Particularity chilling for me was the revelation of a likely 5th hijacking that was averted from the Newark airport – because on the taxiway the pilot had a bad feeling about that smoke from the WTC, and turned his plane back to the gate.
At that moment, ATC still didn’t know it was terrorism.