September 11, 2005


I have no single, monumental photo that captures Ground Zero or what hapened there or what it felt like to be there. When I visited, my hands were shaking a little too much and most of the photos came out slightly blurred. But this...this is my favorite.

It was taken inside St. Paul's, an Episcopal chapel located feet from Ground Zero. This was where emergency workers first brought the injured. Firemen and paramedics slept here for weeks. It remained a chapel but, in a matter of minutes, it became a hospital, a morgue and a hotel. Today it houses many of the things left behind - pictures of the workers and the missing, patches from uniforms of the hundreds of emergency teams who came to help from every corner of the country, banners made by schoolchildren showing support. The pews are forever scuffed, dented and grooved by the gurneys that were laid down upon them. Musicians play thoughout the day, even four years later.

Buildings are buildings. As much as we like to attribute a certain amount of character to them, they're buildings. They stand, they serve a purpose. And sometimes they fall. But people, well, people dream, feel, love, laugh, cry, try, fail and, most importantly, hope. In the cab ride to Ground Zero, I tried to prepare myself for the worst. But when we arrived, I saw only a construction site. A big hole in the ground. When I entered St. Paul's, though, I saw the tragedy, the real effect, the true cost. Remember those people.

Posted by Chris at September 11, 2005 08:41 AM

I think 11/11 was a tragic sign of times to come. I will never forget the horrors of that day.

Posted by: sara at September 11, 2005 08:53 AM

sorry.. 9/11, it's late here.

Posted by: sara at September 11, 2005 08:53 AM

Unfortunately 9/11 will be one of those things, like where were you when heard the news that President Kennedy was shot.

I wont forget where I was what I was doing when those planes attacked our country.

Posted by: Angelia at September 11, 2005 09:17 AM

i remember when i went to visit the site. it was 5 months after, and still... the smell... i'll never forget that. even at 17 i knew that those events would start something that would not end for years.

Posted by: misifoota at September 11, 2005 09:21 AM

I live in NYC and my husband is a cop. I got a call from him saying "Something has happened at WTC, i am being stationed at Vesey and West, I gotta go." Vesey and West Streets are right on the corner of WTC. I didn't hear again from him for hours. I sat paralyzed with fear for hours. finally I did get a call from him...he was ok. After the 1st tower fell he ran back in to see if he could help anybody, he could not. Too much fire and smoke. He did the same thing when the 2nd tower fell. Eventually he was assigned to cataloging the human remains. He did it for months, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On September 11, 2002 I gave birth to our beautiful son. Today is his 3rd birthday and I feel like he is our little ray of hope that shines out of the memory of that horrible day.

I say all that to say this, remember 9/11 and the victims, but also know that there are beautiful things that happened on that day.

Posted by: Pinky at September 11, 2005 09:32 AM

I have to say I couldn't figure out why you were doing anything for September 11th at first. Even though my calendar told me what day it was, I just have put that day aside in my brain. I guess I've put the feelings and grief from that day in a box, much like in "The Village". We must always cherish the memories of the lives lost. But we must always look to the good we can do now. Like donating to your awesome "help desk". And celebrate the true beauties of the world, like Mia and Pinky's son.

Posted by: alektra at September 11, 2005 10:11 AM

I agree with Angelia. this is one of those "I'll never forget where I was/what I was doing" days.

That day changed my life.

Posted by: Allan at September 11, 2005 10:15 AM

Thanks for remembering, and posting. The story of Pinky's baby was beautiful...because there's still life...
I always think of the families on days like this.

Posted by: Heather at September 11, 2005 10:23 AM

Personally, I think the best way we can honor the physical victims of 9/11 is to emulate the spirit and courage they showed - especially those that tried to fight the terrorists and take back control of the plane. We can do this by showing patriotism not only to our country but to each other. Showing more kindness and respect to our fellow people would escalate the healing process and make us a stronger nation than we were prior to 9/11. A phrase you hear all the time is "give me a break" - you're having a bad day, have a headache - well, perhaps the stranger/driver/store clerk, whatever is having a bad day. Why can't we show them a little of the consideration that we ask for ourselves.
Hurrican Katrina is a great place for us to start - if you haven't given money, time or possessions, do so now. The people and animals there NEED us. No money? donate time, no time? donate possessions, no extra possessions, offer to take someone in to help them get back on their feet, no room, offer to help someone find a new job, make phone calls to help reunite people, foster a pet for a few months, donate a bag of pet food, old towels or blankets for the animals to soften the bottom the their cages. There's always ways to help.
I have been volunteering at the local animal shelter for about 6 months now and I can honestly say it has changed me as a person. All I do is walk some of the dogs, perhaps sit and groom them a little. It transforms their spirits as well as my own .There was one particular dog that was very depressed, she didn't even want to come out of her cage to walk. Her coat was completely matted from shedding (she had a "double coat", she looked like she had a horrible disease because of it. I coaxed her out, walked her, talked to her, then we sat under a tree and I brushed her for about an hour getting all the shedding out. She looked wonderful by the time I was done and just that little amount of attention lifted her spirit - she was wagging her tail and holding her head high by the time I brought her back to her cage. I returned 2 days later and wanted to check on her as she had touched by heartstrings, she was gone - she had been adopted and I like to think I had a small part in enabling that.
An hour of my time made THAT much difference. Think about it, then find something you can do yourselves. Smile at a stranger even - what a crazy concept in today's world!
Thank you for the forum Chris, and thank you for reminding us :)

Posted by: Lainey at September 11, 2005 12:03 PM

I will never forget.

Posted by: Kitty at September 11, 2005 04:18 PM

Nice remembrance.

Blog on,

Posted by: Sam at September 11, 2005 07:14 PM

Great post, as always, Chris! To commemorate 9/11, I've decided to visit every single blog on my blogroll today. I appreciate the entertainment and enjoyment you provide, and I wish you peace and happiness.

Posted by: mooalex at September 11, 2005 08:16 PM

It's hard to think of today like any other day of the year, and we probably never will. I, like everyone else, will always recall exactly what I was doing when I saw what was happening on TV. I can't imagine what it must have been like to visit ground zero and St. Paul's Cathedral, I'm sure you will always know exactly the way you felt when you walked through those doors.

Posted by: JuJuBee at September 11, 2005 09:26 PM

beautiful post and tribute. thank you.

Posted by: romy at September 11, 2005 09:43 PM

Hey Chris...long time visitor, first time commenter. Just wanted to say that II live blocks away from both St. Pauls and Ground Zero. Normally, you're absolutely right. St. Pauls is the physical location where one can get a true sense of the tragedy of 9/11. As you know when you enter the cathedral, one can almost smell the sense of history of the physical space and all that it has seen in its lifetime.

I wish you could have seen Grond Zero today. Standing on the steps of St. Pauls, I looked across the street at the construction site that was once the WTC and listened to families recite the names of their loved ones. Never has an open construction pit been so moving. I could only look at it and cry.

Never forget. And always remember.

Thnaks for the post.

Posted by: MetroDad at September 11, 2005 11:51 PM

Well done, Chris. The impact, emotional I mean and not physical, was felt by your neighbours to the north as strongly as your fellow countrymen and women. Still to this day. I watched several hours of coverage this morning, still riveted by the event, aftermath and dissection by journalists, engineers and survivors. The loss remains, but also the love. Let's not forget them, or that.

Posted by: Tamara at September 12, 2005 01:35 AM

i wish i had been able to travel and see the devestation. I hope i get to share in your sentiment someday and see this beautiful building you have described. What an inspiration for the hope of he human condition. Nice words and pic here.


Posted by: melanie at September 12, 2005 05:03 AM

A lovely post. I will forever be changed by the events of that day.

Posted by: carrster at September 12, 2005 09:07 AM

i finally, after visitng NYC twice and moving here, decided to go visit the site the other day (the 9th). I walked around the perimiter of the WTC, but it wasnt until I wandered inside that small little church that i began to remember and realize exactly what did happen that day. I had been in Italy not only 2 weeks (on my 10 month study abroad stay) when it happened.

Posted by: laurad at September 12, 2005 11:44 AM

Great photo - thank you for the memories.

Posted by: Kari at September 12, 2005 10:59 PM