When I went back to New York in October, 2001, the smell of burning metal and plastic was still prevalent and vivid in the air. The desperate posters of missing people left by family plastered the walls on the streets and reminded all of us how easily delusion claims reality and hope overpowers both.
The police stood on roof tops, armed with rifles and checked cars as we drove through. It was not invasive. I welcomed the measures they took. As I walked onto the street near Ground Zero, I remember being stared at not only by police but by pedestrians as I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures. The tension was thick and people still mistrusting but I felt safe there than anywhere else I've ever lived.
As I tried to capture moments, I inched my way closer to the barricaded area and told to move back and then I realized I wasn't supposed to photograph anything. This place wasn't meant to be exploited or put on exhibit. This wasn't a zoo and I was somehow making it that way. I felt guilt as I put the camera away, stepped back into the group of people took it all in with my eyes, my mind and my heart.
This was a personal experience given to me to remember and write about. I absorbed everything; the church across the street, the posters on the walls, the dust that settled everywhere, the stoic humans who walked like zombies with wide eyes and cold stares, arms down by their sides, not swaying in motion, tired and pregnant with ambiguity, looked into my eyes with a vacancy and I had never known.
Charred remains of a once proud giant could be seen in the distance peeking out through a mist of settling debris, and although the city seemed unfamiliar and different, this surreal place still felt like home.
You will excuse me if this writer does not feel the need to post graphic pictures of falling towers. That is not what I remember. Today, I just want to pay tribute to those who made a difference, not to celebrate a tragedy like a birthday with evil clowns and bad tasting cake. They don't deserve the recognition or the attention. But the heroes do.
From the stewardesses, passengers on the planes, their families, the people in the towers, the streets, the Emergency Medical Teams, NYFD, NYPD, Clergy, and all others who assisted in one way or another to help someone else and to the wonderful people on the Boat Lifts in the boating community, that have gone unseen, this is for you.
Please watch the video below to learn more about these boats you probably did not hear about on the news.