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September 11, 2001.

These are exerpts from an essay that I have placed in the back of my September 11 scrapbook.

"...I was a writer who couldn’t write, a photographer who couldn’t record images. A crier who couldn’t cry. The events of September 11, 2001, had such an effect on me that my normal outlets—tears, hysteria, the stability of an ordered sentence, the capturing of my impressions on film, all proved elusive. Typical New Yorker that I am, when I heard the DJ on CBS FM, announce that though we may not believe it, a plane has hit the World Trade Center, I thought “some Bozo with too much money and not enough brains convinced his pilot to give him a “view only money could buy” plane tour… Since the DJ went back to the music with a promise of more info as he found it, I shook my head, and gave it not much more thought as I continued to quilt while my laundry dried.

He came back and said that another plane hit. He had no more information. I didn’t want to stay at the Laundromat any longer. I went home, to see what’s going on. Maybe I just wasn’t listening carefully. An inkling of unease crept into my sub-conscience, but I was still innocent, so I squashed it down.

I knew my little brother was heading for the city that morning. He was probably on the boat already; hopefully not further—Where was his job exactly? When I arrived home, the door was unlocked. I ran up the stairs—oh good, you haven’t left yet--thank god, did you hear? He of course was busy primping and didn’t have the TV or radio on. He was still innocent.

With no concept yet of the calamity unfolding, we turned on the TV to see what was going on. The stations were all snowed out. This was the first feeling of something really wrong. Our television signal was transmitted from the top of the Tower. However, I volunteered to drive him to the ferry, since my laundry would be almost an hour. So off we drove, down Forest Avenue on a trek I’ve taken too many times to count.

"...Today though, we reach that point in the turn where the skyline comes into view. I gasp! My hands shake and go to my face. Oh, My GOD! Tears fill my eyes as I see twin chimneys of the city roofline smoking, blackly, harshly, heading to Brooklyn. A huge scar in a crystal sky.

Anoki is sitting next to me. He reaches out to me and says intense. He tells me its OK. We drive. We have no choice. Still, I think the ferry will be open. Still, I don’t get it. The police are already blocking the boat. People are along the terrace, out of their cars, holding their bikes, holding each other. My eyes continue to peer into the rearview as we drive away. I need my camera. Home. I must go get my camera. I can’t miss this. I am a photographer. I process thoughts through imagery. Had my TV been working, I would have gone there the first time with my camera.

Anoki agrees to go back down to the Terrace with me. On the ride back to St. George, we hear on the radio that another plane has crashed, this one into the Pentagon. I am shaking. My world is collapsing around me. We go down to the Esplanade, the fancy new boardwalk/parking area built for our baseball stadium, a stadium designed with this bleeding skyline in mind. There are a lot of other cars. People with videos and cameras. All are quiet, just absorbing the unabsorbable.

We see Brooklyn, with its black hovering cloud, but we can’t see Manhattan yet. As I get out of the car, I am fussing with my camera. As we walk, I want to get a “framing” shot to begin my story, and then do some more detail. I still haven’t comprehended that terrorism has hit our shore. I have yet to process a list of people I may know in the buildings. I didn’t see the plane crash videos yet, so I still think it’s fixable. I think I have all the time in the world to record this smoky ruin, all day, indeed, there is no rush to compose these shots of the two towers.

I stop. Wide angle, smoking towers in the left third, people in the foreground. I take my shot and keep walking. I pull my camera away from my face to really assess what’s going on, look down to re-adjust the lens, and hear a low deep rolling roar and a scream high-pitched from my side. OH MY GOD! Was that the building! My hands go out and up at the same time, pointing and covering the huge sobs coming from my heart. “There are supposed to be two buildings there! Anoki! The building is gone! Those people… there’s a city in that building!”

I picked up the camera and took some more pictures, but I don’t recall doing it. I held Anoki and he held me and we cried. Wracking tears. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I couldn’t bear to look. I squatted on the sidewalk because I couldn’t hold myself up any longer.

The sky was blue. A crystal clear cloudless day had dawned. A gorgeous late summer wonderful-to-be-alive morning. The kind a tourist wishes for, so spectacular was the view of the city from Staten Island. Amazing photo-ops from the ferry, of Lady Liberty, of the unique and spectacular southern Manhattan skyline kind of day. And slashed across it harshly, is this swath of black, fully as high as many of the buildings are tall. Suddenly the end of Manhattan is obliterated. Gone. Totally surrounded by this huge unending wall of dust, smoke, ash, sheet-rock, concrete, paper, people.

On a clear day you can see forever. I said that to Anoki, as I watched this cloud overtake lower Manhattan. We watched, clearly, as unknown numbers of souls searched for forever, floating high in the air, escaping the screams, and heat, and noise and smoke and fear and pain and crushing darkness, souls reaching for light and peace.

After an eternity, (20 minutes?) I couldn’t look anymore. It seemed obscene to be photographing this. Why would I ever want to see this again? Surely you don’t want pictures of your nightmares!

Slowly, unsurely, we turned our backs and walked towards the car. We had apparently kept walking closer as we watched this unfold; the car was far from where I thought we left it. I turned back every few steps. I told Anoki I needed to just make sure the other tower was still standing. It was. I turned the car around to leave and heard people cry out and I knew. I had stopped checking, and it fell. I drove, following the Terrace back, and stopped in a traffic lane, and took another few pictures of this unbelievable horrible dream.

All Photographs, unless otherwise noted are copyrighted images belonging to Trish Casey-Green. All writing, unless otherwise noted, is the original copyrighted work of Timmy Green or Trish Casey-Green. Please Respect all copyrights!

Some images from these scrapbook pages were taken from the Staten Island Advance and USA TODAY. back to the studio