Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 - We Will Never Forget

I'm at home this weekend, so I won't be posting much, but I had to post something today. I remember it like it was yesterday - I was sitting in my 7th grade science class when we heard the news. I remember almost every detail of the prayer vigil I went to with my family that night. When David and I visited NYC in March, we went to Ground Zero, St. Paul's Chapel (right across from Ground Zero), and the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, a museum of photographs taken by Gary Suson and memorabilia from September 11th. I just wanted to share some of the pictures, because they're so powerful.

St. Paul's Chapel is also known as the Little Chapel That Stood. It is literally right across the street from where the towers stood and there was absolutely no damage done to it. It was a haven for volunteers, firefighters, and police officers.

I had tears in my eyes as we walked through the chapel that has become a memorial for those who lost their lives. It was almost overwhelming. If you have the chance, DEFINITELY visit - It was probably my favorite thing we did on our trip.

The other museum we visited was just as touching. Gary Suson is the curator and photographer for all of the photos. He was the only photographer allowed at Ground Zero during the recovery and clean-up periods. I would highly recommend it as well to anyone visiting! My favorites:

Gary's story about the picture above from his book:

"It was the last few days of January and I was standing near the North Tower area conversing with an FDNY Chief, when I noticed some charred papers on the edge of a steep incline. Separating me from the papers was a Jersey barrier, erected to keep workers away from the dangerous drop-off. I asked the Chief if I could photograph the papers and he hesitantly said yes, but asked me to make it quick because it was dangerous. I shot only three frames. The first was of a charred letter from police headquarters. Barely sticking out from under the letter were some cream-colored papers. When I lifted the police letter, I found there were a few wet and charred pages from a Bible. The Bible itself was nowhere to be found. I was instantly taken aback by this find, but never had a chance to examine the pages because my coworker pulled up in his gator and told me to jump in, as there was a recovery in progress that we had to get to. I leaned over quickly, shot two photographs, and jumped in the back of his gator. That night there was a huge rainstorm and Ground Zero turned into a giant mud pit and had to be temporarily shut down because the trucks couldn't make it up the hill. The next day I got the proof back and nearly fell off my seat when I saw that the passage on the page facing me was Genesis 11: The Tower of Babylon. I was a moving, though bizarre, find; I took the symbolism of the "11" and "Tower" as a positive sign that God was watching over the victims in their last moments, and that He was also watching over this hallowed ground during the recovery effort. Also, I found the page during a period when I was considering tapering off my shooting, because the things I was seeing were too much to bear. I am not trained for wartime photography and the sights that go along with it. This was a war zone and it was taking its emotional toll on me. Finding the Genesis 11 Bible page gave me the strength to continue with my duties; I felt someone "upstairs" must have approved of what I was doing. Whether it was just some strange coincidence or divine intervention, it had important meaning to me. A group of my friends went down to look for the page the next day, but it had been washed away into the mud during the storm. I wish I had grabbed the page at that moment, but I was so rushed that it slipped my mind. At least I have it recorded on film."

How cool is that story?! It still gives me chills. And it's such an encouraging story that came from such a tragic event. Especially today, remember the lives lost and changed forever, but remember encouraging stories like this one too!

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