Today is the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Anybody old enough to remember that horrible day can probably remember exactly where they were, and what they were doing, when they heard the news. It was my generation’s Pearl Harbor and it changed the world forever.
I have a 20 year history working as a paramedic and I distinctly recall watching my peers respond to the towers and to the other crash sites that day. I also recall how I felt when I learned that so many of them fell while performing their duties. My wife and I honeymooned in New York City not long after that, and I have a close friend who served in Afghanistan as a direct result of the attacks. Like many people, I feel a connection to that day.
When I was back in New York last year I took this photo of one of the two reflecting pools found at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (which is located underground). Each reflecting pool is approximately 1 acre in size and is located in the footprint of one of the World Trade Center towers. More than 400 trees surround these pools, creating an incredibly peaceful experience.
The Memorial & Museum is a moving tribute to that horrible day, with a strong focus on the people involved (the victims, the heroes, the responders, those who worked so tirelessly at Ground Zero for so long, the families that were left behind and yes, the attackers too). It is respectful, educational, and it is not to be missed if you are ever in New York City.
I have so many other photographs from my day spent at the Memorial. I even have a blog post written about it but even now, 16 years later, it still hits a little close to home for me. I wouldn’t trade my current life as a photographer and author for anything but I will always honour my previous life serving on the streets as a paramedic, those who I served with and ultimately those who sacrificed everything to care for us and to protect us.
My life is blessed: I am so lucky to have an amazing family and to be an artist. Days like today serve as an important reminder to never take any of it for granted.
Author’s note: Parts of this text have been posted on previous years.