Life before and after September 11, 2001.
I worked right down the block from the Trade Center. The picture above is from my first night back at work. I spent much of my shift crying. At first, I wasn't sure about taking any photos, I felt like I was intruding on the souls that were lost. A firefighter I knew from the South Street Seaport engine Company told me to take the pictures because it was history, horrible history, and it would be documented by so many of us, and we would all have our stories.
Lower Manhattan was still covered in the ash, buildings, the sidewalks, streetlights, it was everywhere. Our Military walked the streets. The South Street Seaport Fire House was draped in black. My building, covered in pictures and ash, had bomb sniffing dogs. The dogs were there for a few months after the attacks. There were pictures of those lost lovingly hung on buildings and anywhere they could possibly be attached. Signs beckoned to the searchers and rescue workers to come and rest for a little while, not many of them did, they were all at ground zero working to find survivors, recover their fallen, and put out the fires that still burned. You could tell which way the wind was blowing, or if a fire had been uncovered for weeks after the attacks by the smell outside my building. We would buy water and coffees for anyone in the Water Street Deli that we knew were working at Ground Zero. It was the least we could do. A dear friend that I worked with and I walked the streets of lower Manhattan during our break at about 2:20AM September 22, 2001. These are just a few snapshots frozen in time, frozen in history.
My shifts at the time were Monday and Tuesday, 4PM to 12AM. then on the weekends, I did the midnight shift. It was a perfect shift for me since it meant that my son was always with myself, my husband, or our family. I would take the trains during the week, but on weekends I drove. Manhattan was closed to car traffic my first few weeks back to work, so I would take the Staten Island Ferry there and back. This was my view coming home after my return to work.
I will never forget the events of the day. September 11, 2001. I will never forget the weeks and months that followed. I will never forget all those whose names are so gently spoken each year. The people I knew personally, and those I had never met, but am so touched by their lives. I will always remember.
May God bless them, their families, and our great country.