August 22, 1998, nine years back, was my only glimpse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers of New York City. I was on my way to JFK airport to depart for a month’s travels in Southeast Asia, the first trip that would have me return two more times to date. When I took this photo for the family I was traveling with I don’t think I even noticed the skyline’s famous Twin Towers.
I must have noticed them at the time, I centered the viewfinder on them.
It wasn’t until I was home from other travels in December 2001 in Central America – ones that crossed my path with the family again – that I saw the towers in the photo. My heart almost skipped a beat in the shock that the Twin Towers just suddenly seemed to stand out to me. I had seen live footage of them collapsing, and nearly 3 months worth of daily TV footage of where they once stood. Buildings that became icons one Tuesday morning. I had photographed them and hardly noticed they were part of the landscape.
To all those serving in law enforcement, fire departments, as paramedics, and the soldiers who have deployed because of September 11th, my simple “thank you” can never be said enough to repay my gratitude for your service. It is because of your hard work and the unity I saw bring our country together after these events that I cannot sing the Star Spangled Banner without choking up. You have kept us a land of free, brave citizens.
We all have our stories to tell of where we were and what we felt. That sinking feeling returned this Thursday morning as I learned of loss in the family of dear friends. I saw photos of a face I met for just a moment at her mother’s wedding reception, I photographed, and barely a year later she was gone.
I hate this feeling. Remember those lost, and please, remember to love those you have with you today.
“August evenings bring solemn warnings to remember
To kiss the ones you love goodbye
Never know what temporal days may bring
Laugh and love, live free and sing
When life is in discord
Praise ye the Lord”
– Anberlin, Paperthin Hymnal