Twenty-Five Years Before, Ten Years After
I took this photo on July 4, 1976, as my family and I stood on the deck of the New York Bay, passing by the World Trade Center. My father, who worked for a steamship company for many years, had gotten us tickets to Operation Sail, and we had the equivalent of a front-row seat as we watched the tall ships passing by. We saw the Statue of Liberty from the water, and the tip of Manhattan as well. At that time, I had a small camera that took a 110 film cartridge, and as we passed in front of the World Trade Center, I snapped the photo that I’ve posted above.
Some years earlier, when I was in second grade, my teacher took us on a field trip to the World Trade Center. Only one of the towers was completed then. Through the window of the observation deck, we could see the top of the unfinished building with the cranes around it.
I remember how our guide told us how high the winds could get on the roof of the building, and how a penny dropped from that height would kill someone on the ground if it hit them.
Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, I was just coming home from work. A friend of mine in New York had just left me a message telling me that she had just heard that a small plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
I turned on the television, which was still broadcasting the children’s programming that it aired at that time of day. But several minutes later, the station interrupted its regular programming with a live feed from New York. I watched in horror, then called my family in the US to find out whether they were all right. Thank God, they were.
Later that evening, my dear, late friend Bev called and invited me to her place. Neither of us should be alone this evening, she said. When I got there, I saw that she had lit several candles for the souls of those who had perished. We sat together and tried to comfort each other as we watched further developments on the news.
in my mind, I kept hearing the guide of our second-grade class telling us how a single penny dropped from the top of the World Trade Center could kill. And the damage and losses we were witnessing were so enormously, inconceivably worse....