In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the tragedy of the World Trade Center towers in New York City falling due to two terrorist highjacked passenger planes aiming for and crashing into each tower. In other ways its hard to believe it hasn’t been longer. In any case, this year it seems a little more poignant to remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001 or 9/11 as it seems to be commonly referred to.
I think the reason why I feel like I need to honor the memory of September 11, 2001 is that I had my first trip to New York in October 2001 to attend the Mamma Mia! premiere on Broadway, and this year, in a couple more weeks I will be returning to New York for the first time since 2001 to see Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA launch the English language concert version of their musical, Kristina. Kristina is the musical Björn and Benny wrote that tells the story of Swedish immigrants coming to the United States in the late 1800’s. The story is based on the book series known as “The Emigrants” by Vilhelm Moberg. The New York performances are being staged as a concert version of the show instead of a fully staged production at Carnegie Hall. This will be in many cases the public’s first chance to experience the show in English. A workshop version of it was worked on a couple years ago but never heard if it actually had any public performances.
So with great excitement I am looking forward to returning to New York for yet another ABBA related event. But with it being this time of year, it’s also quite sobering to think that I was in New York about a month after the disaster struck. My friend that I will be going to New York with this time is also the same friend I toured the Ground Zero area surrounding the former site of the World Trade Center in 2001. So it felt appropriate to open up my Flickr account and take another look at the photos I took the day we walked through the public areas to pay our respects to the site of the World Trade Center. I still vividly remember the awful smell of the area that still lingered on a month following the disaster.
We managed to get fairly close to the site, close enough we could see the destruction. The lingering fragments of architecture of the bases of the towers that once housed their respective lobbies. The blown out glass on the neighboring buildings that were still standing looking like they had been disemboweled. It was a very sad day, the day my friend and I walked through the area, but I’m truly glad we did it to pay our respects. It was such an unnecessary tragedy and it certainly could have been far worse than it was. I think the expression on the face of the cop I photographed truly expressed it all. To be honest I was trying to capture the street and never really noticed the cop when I took the picture, but he certainly stood out when I first put the photos online. I’ve cropped just the cop’s face for the photo attached to this entry, but if you’d like to see the full photograph as well as the others I took from my visit to Ground Zero in October 2001, click here to access my Flickr photo gallery.
I still remember reaching Battery Park following the walk-through and making our way to the rails on the edge of the park and seeing the Statue of Liberty out in the distance. I wanted a photograph of it but my camera couldn’t muster the energy out of the batteries, as if they too were just drained by the sobering experience of seeing the remnants of the disaster. Ironically, there’s a song in Kristina about Battery Park and now I will be returning to New York again to not only see Kristina, but maybe another visit to Battery Park. A little taste of the song from the Swedish production appears below (don’t worry, it was one of the few songs in English in the original production.)
So in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 not just in New York City, but also at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and United Flight 93 where the passengers fought back and prevented that flight from striking another landmark albeit sacrificing themselves in the process, this day is to honor their memory. Again this year seems a bit more sentimental due to the fact I too will be returning to New York, for the first time since October 2001. May we never forget.
Again my Flickr gallery for Ground Zero in October 2001 can be accessed by clicking here.