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  • Writer's pictureBen


Updated: Mar 22, 2021

I took this picture on August 11, 2001. It was my first and only time in NYC. I shot so much film on this trip, it took me a couple months before I had all the rolls developed, so I didn’t even remember that I had taken the picture.

I still remember 9/11 quite vividly. I was working at Sony and living in Costa Mesa at the time (for those who don’t know...that’s a long way...especially in LA traffic).

As I got in my car to drive to work, I was completely clueless that anything had happened. I left my cell phone in the car overnight and the battery was dead, so it was at least 10 minutes or so before I could check my voicemail.

The first message was from my mom:

“Well, it happened. They attacked us.”


I was thoroughly confused and no idea what that meant.

Oddly, there was very little traffic as I got on the freeway. I turned the radio on and instead of hearing jokes and laughter from the usual morning show frivolity...I heard sadness and tears.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I got a voicemail notification. For some reason my phone didn’t ring.

It was my boss:

“There’s no need for you to come into work. There are credible threats against the studios, so stay home.”


I called her back to let her know I was already headed to work and maybe there others who were in the office, so we agreed that I’d go in to tell everyone to go home.

As fast as the drive was with no seemed to take forever as I was listening to the radio.

I got to the office and there were very few people there. I told those that were there to go home and I’d be in touch as to next steps.

I sat at my desk and turned the TV on. Even though I had been listening to the radio for over an hour and I knew what happened...nothing could prepare me for the images that I saw on the screen.

I broke down.

On the way in, I called my family to let them know I was ok and what I was doing. I had to call them again to say I loved them.

A couple of days later, as I was reading the news online, I came across an article in the WSJ by Peggy Noonan about what she saw just days earlier. Towards the end of the article she wrote these words that just jumped off the page and immediately gave me a big hug:

“Even in horror there is beauty to be seen, even in trauma there is strength to be gained, and at the heart of every defeat is the seed of a future victory.”

18 years later...I miss how we came united we were in these states we call America. We forgot political differences...we forgot religious differences...we forgot race...gender...and for a brief moment, we all identified as American.

I miss that.

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