I love New York. It's one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been to. You walk the streets of Manhattan and the city is all around you. It's absolutely fantastic. I never got to see the Twin Towers. I'd had plenty of opportunities to visit New York in the fifteen months before September 11th. I was always too afraid to go. The reputation of New York before Rudy stepped in and cleaned it up wasn't a very good one. I only came to America in 2000 and I didn't really know much about it, other than yellow taxis, honking horns and drive-by shootings. That's all we ever heard about America in small town England.
I've been to New York too many times to count since September 11th, 2001. I go to the Twin Towers. I go to the fire station and walk around Ground Zero, remembering the images and sounds from the news that morning. I've taken many photographs this last eight years and every year the landscape has altered. The three above are from my own personal collection.
Every year it seems to change, yet there are still no skyscrapers going upward and no real memorial. But the one thing that doesn't change, no matter the weather, no matter the time of day or year, no matter what else is going on in the city, is the eerie quiet that surrounds the area. The one thing that always strikes me when I go there, the one thing that comes to me whether I invite it or not, is remembering the choices that people made that day. People way up above chose to leap to certain doom, rather than face a terrible end by fire. And people safely on the ground chose to go inside and upward to try and rescue those that were trapped, without any thought for their own life.
Those choices, made by people like you and me, are the story of that day. My heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone whose lives changed forever on that New York blue sky morning. God bless the men and women who serve and protect us, and their families, too. May we always remember.