• Life

    Posted on September 9th, 2011

    Written by Sheryl Checkman


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    Photomontage of Ground Zero days after the attacks. Military guards, smoldering ruins and the clock stopped
    I created this photomontage from photographs that I took at Ground Zero in the days after the WTC attacks of 9/11. “Here is New York : A Democracy of Photographs” an exhibition that was initially set up in a storefront in response to the World Trade Center tragedy. 

    10 years have gone by since that terrible day in 2001. I remember that morning all too well. The sky was blue and the sun was shining.  I was getting ready to vote in the primary and go to work. My friend David phoned and told me to turn on the news. Together we watched what looked like a small plane crash into one of the towers. The magnitude of what had just happened before our eyes had yet to make sense to me. Still believing this to be an accident, I went to vote. The polls had yet to close. I then got on the subway (even they were still running) and traveled to my office on 26th and Broadway. Crossing 5th Avenue I looked south and saw the black smoke rising from the street in the distance. I saw people in tears hugging each other. The towers had fallen. Stunned I went up to my office. The phone rang – it was my friend Sue telling me to get out of there. My office was near the Empire State Building. Who knew what could happen next. I left my office and started the long walk back uptown along with everyone else trying to get as far from downtown as possible. It was a surreal exodus. A distraught man stopped me and asked if he could borrow my phone to call his wife. He had been down near the World Trade Center when it happened and wanted her to know that he was ok. I gave him the phone but he couldn’t get through. Everyone else with a cell phone was attempting to to the same thing.

    I walked until my feet were covered in blisters. My high heeled sandals were not exactly made for walking long distances in. Later, when I finally went back to work, I brought a pair of sneakers to leave in my office, just in case. When I finally got home I went to my local salon for a pedicure – just so I didn’t have to be alone. I remember being glued to the TV for days watching those horrible scenes played over and over again. I remember walking in Central Park a few days later with a friend  trying to make sense of it all, while the scent of ash, carried all the way uptown, marred another beautiful day. I volunteered at the Salvation Army, trying to feel useful.

    And now it is 10 years later. Life has gone on. But I will never forget that senseless day when terror shook our city to it’s very core and thousands of innocent people and those brave first responders lost their lives. It is for them that I remember and pay them tribute.


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