My husband (then boyfriend) surprised me with a trip to New York City in December of 2000. I had always wanted to visit the city, especially at the holidays specifically to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. Armed with my 35mm SLR and several rolls of film, we left Atlanta on Friday, December 1st, on an early flight into LaGuardia. We didn’t know it when we boarded, but we somehow lucked out and were seated where we had a great view of the city while flying in. When we caught our first glimpse of the Manhattan skyline, the most recognizable buildings were the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
That weekend was filled with a typical tourist’s visit to the city including Times Square, Fifth Avenue, The Empire State Building, Central Park and of course Rockefeller Center to see the famous tree. I feel like we walked all over Midtown Manhattan and were exhausted and nearly frozen each night when we crawled into bed. On our last day in the city, we talked about visiting the Statue of Liberty, but wouldn’t have time before we needed to head back to the airport. We decided that a trip to see the World Trade Center would be a great compromise and could see the Statue of Liberty from there.
I choose to shoot with black and white film that day, hoping I’d capture some classic views of the city. Knowing that it would help me keep my photos more organized, I stopped to take a photo at the entrance to the south tower where we were headed to the observation deck.
My husband and I still can’t remember who then decided to look up and take a photo of the building itself, but I am so glad now that one of us had the foresight to do it.
On September 11, 2001, I was attending a training class in the Atlanta suburbs where I lived at the time. The class started at 8:30 am, and like all good participants ready to learn something new, my cell phone was off so that there were no interruptions in the class. At our first break just after 10:00 am, each attendee turned their phones on and found a quiet place to call their offices or loved ones to check in and talk to someone while stretching their legs. I called my husband to see if he wanted to meet me for lunch since he was scheduled to be near the location of my training class that afternoon.
Before I could even ask him about lunch, he told me about the events unfolding in New York. As he said that America was under attack and that one of the towers of the World Trade Center was gone. I couldn’t comprehend what he was telling me and asked him several times to repeat himself and to slow down. As I was trying to understand, I noticed that others on their cell phones looked confused and upset and someone inside had turned on the television. We all sat in silence and watched the second tower collapse and were then sent home for the day.
On this tenth anniversary of that horrific day in American history, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones. Our country changed forever on September 11, 2001 and we will never forget.