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Sunday, September 11, 2011


This is a book we received from my uncle for Christmas 2002.
I couldn't bring myself to open it.

10 years later... and I could not not bring myself to look at the images within.  Never.  Ever.  Paralyzed by the feelings and sorrow and fear it would evoke.  It sat on my coffee table for at least 6 years.  Eventually I put it up on a book shelf.

But it's time, so this is the first time it's been cracked open.

The book, Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs, is a collection of photography images from an art show that was in New York   The photographers of the images were numbers, and they were anyone, everyone that took a photo in New York on 9/11/01 or the days just after.  Really anyone who was there could contribute an image.  As Amazon's description says the photos are from, "not only top photojournalists and other professionals, but rescue workers, firemen, police officers, school children, and amateurs of every kind."  And the diversity is amazing.   It tells the story from so many perspectives.  There are 864, and I was amazed to see what a new copy of the book is going for now!  Check out Amazon's description.  It's so much better than mine.
Do you remember the paper?
Do you remember the ash?
Do you remember the lines at the blood banks?
Do you remember the missing posters?
Tonight I will call my children around and we will open this book together.  We won't read anything, because there aren't any words in this book.  We'll just let the images tell the story.  It's time to open it.
I've been to ground zero.

And I stood and watched and prayed.  But these images somehow are just too much for me.  Taken by regular folks.  Most of them not photographers, showing the world what was happening to them at that very moment.   People that were like me.  Not different.  Just like the people that didn't survive.

At that very moment, I was getting Sunny and Liv ready for school.  Our little 12" tv playing the news at Sunny ate her cereal.  And breaking news interrupted... a plane just flew into the first tower.  then the second plane hit.  Then the first tower came down.  I had to get Sunny and Liv to school.  I sat at the playground watching the children that played before the bell rang, the enormity of the situation coming over me, the tears starting to come.  Another mommy sat by my side.  Did you see the news this morning?  She hadn't.  I think you'd might want to get home and watch it.  I'm thinking I should pull my girls out of school and go home.  I just don't feel safe today. 
I wouldn't feel safe like before 9/11 again.

We all felt that way.  Paralyzed.

We felt that things would never ever be the same.  They weren't.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Nancy. No, nothing will ever be the same.

  2. I was thinking tonight how that day seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. It is difficult to remember a pre-9/11 world, but the emotions that the pictures and videos conjure up are still so raw. . . It is strange how it makes me feel--so sad, so vulnerable.

  3. I got chills just reading this - cause its true - we'll always be different. It is so weird to be living in what is now being taught in history class to our kids.

  4. What a wonderful thing to have. We will never forget, but it is nice to be able to have such a precious keepsake. I was pregnant with my son at the time. It was amazing the world we lived it, with the tragedy and with the resilience that was shown afterwards. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!


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