Photographer / Author

The 911 Memorial, New York City

David Halpern

David Halpern

It was a rainy morning and it appeared as if all the world’s tears were falling on the site of the World Trade Center.

But, that thought didn’t come to me at the moment I made this picture. I was preoccupied with my efforts to stay dry. Only later, as I examined the two pictures I had struggled to make under gloomy conditions did that feeling surge over me. Like thousands of visitors who crowded the labrinth of walkways that eventually led to the TSA-type security charcpoint, I was repeatedly asked to show my ticket and was watched by security guards that lined the chain link fenced perimeter of the memorial. I didn’t enter the memorial with any feeling of reverence for those memorialized. It was more like coming out of a mob to seek some space, and it is hard to feel a sence of calmness, contemplation or respect until time has allowed you to shed the sense of crowd induced pressure. One day I will go back to this place and try to experience some of what I felt when visiting the memorial to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, or the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.

In these pictures, you don’t see chain link fences or security guards. I eliminated those distractions from the images. Once construction of the One World Trade Center skyscraper is complete and the 911 Memorial Museum is open, perhaps the fences will be gone and security less obvious. That would enhance the experience for everyone. The statement this memorial makes is profound and it’s a worthy tribute to those who lost their lives and loved ones in a tragic and monumentally senseless act of terrorism.

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