Doesn’t seem so, yet, it’s been 20 years since the horror of 9/11/2001.
I was on a Roads Scholar Tour with The Ohio State University and we were visiting various OSU supported industries in northern Ohio. We were gathered in the lobby of the company and told the tour was suspended and we were going back to Columbus. Not much was known and getting a phone call out was almost impossible.
I finally reached my Father in San Diego and all he could say was ‘they were gone, the towers were gone’. I didn’t understand. I’ve photographed in and out of NYC since the early 70’s. Spent time at the Trade Center, photographed from the roof when that was still allowed. It just didn’t make sense.
I wasn’t till we finally got home and saw the replays from the morning shows that it all came home.
Take a moment to reflect, understand and keep the memory of those lost alive.
HI All, with no explanation needed, it’s been a long year.
It began great with a trip to Cuba in January via Global Volunteers.
That was the tip of the iceberg that is still working it’s way around the world.
While visiting Hemmingway’s house I became enveloped in a group of tourist from… China. A day or so later the virus announcement happened and we wondered about getting back to the States. Last day in Cuba and we had a new housemate from… Italy. Cuban airport packed, Miami International packed. First of February and still very clueless, and… lucky!
March came the great flood. 1500 sqft under 2 ft of water in the lower basement turned production area. And it was ‘black’ water. The new house is the first on the sewer line :-] Turns out the replacement powerline pole ended up in the sewer chamber in the corner of the yard. Sewer chamber filled with dirt washed from around the pole. The basement was convenient so it filled. Lost 3/4 of a decade of BW images from the 70’s and about 10k color images. Yep, up off the floor on racks out of the way. Water was so high and forceful that it took the containers – heavy containers – off the racks and turned them over. :-[ By the time I got the water pumped out and had a chance to start looking around it was too late to save. Everything had be so violently pushed around it was hard to what was where, plus everything was covered in crap water, literally.
Now back to that virus thing. A crew showed up to help cleanup, which was great. Could not have done it myself. Had 10ish people at anyone moment in the basement with and without masks for a couple of days. Then 2 weeks of repair and replace people in and out. Might have dodged a virus bullet there.
Spent the rest of the year seeing a few friends and keeping to the house, plus reworking that flood thing. Had to start from scratch, again. Very depressing every time I looked at the containers with the lost images.
It’s been a long year for everyone, much longer for some. To those that have lost a loved one a heartfelt hug.
So we come to the end… of this endless year. Time to brighten up, think positive, make new plans, get shot and hopefully move on. To that end a little something to cheery to look at. Within minutes of the house a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Enjoy the Holiday’s and look forward to a new New Year.
As I watch the Sen. McCain memorial service at the National Cathedral I remember the many trips to that revered site in within Washington DC. Such a fitting site for remembrance and hopefully renewed unification for the nation. A place of gathering for ALL people from anywhere to take a moment to reflect upon who we are and what kind of Nation we want to be.
The many nuances of the past week and today, hopefully, will not go unnoticed and provide a solid groundwork, nay groundswell of unity as we go forth into the future.
The 4th has always been a great time for me. I remember sitting on the banks of the Detroit River (late 50’s OMG) watching the fireworks on the river celebrating both Canada Day and our Independence Day. And, over the years I’ve had the experience to have photographed 4th events from all over the US. It’s a time that brings us all together. And when I say all, I mean all from all over the world.
The country we were, and I hope we will be again contained people that opened their doors to you and came from around the globe. I’ve photographed projects that have taken me around the US pre and post 9-11 and wondered what people would be like post. They were the same. Open and honest, giving and forthright. It seems to be the same bell curve with a couple of extremes left and right, but most of us are right in the middle.
So, take a moment to reflect as to where we came from in the past, why we came here and where do we want to be in the future.
I’m hoping that the next time I get to roam around the US I find us to be the same open heartfelt American that I’ve seen in the past.
Saturday I was reminded why I like photographing Special Olympic games. Couple of years ago National Games were in New Jersey and Ohio had a special swim team in competition. Special as in good hard workers, not Special Olympics even though that is why they were there. While waiting on one of the teams to compete I notice a gentleman on the swim floor in a wheelchair. He got up and using a metal cane approached the pool lane. It became obvious that he had the use of just one arm and leg, but jumped into the pool to compete. Swam a freestyle competition and did very well.
Yesterday at the powerlift competition held in the Thurber Theatre at the Drake Union on campus – The Ohio State University – I was witness to another ‘special’ moment.
Young man approached the weights to be lifted with his coach and as the coach was getting the athlete set as I’ve seen the other coaches do I thought he was placing the athletes hand in the right position for the lift. As the coach left I saw this young man using just one hand to do the powerlift! And lift he did!
The athletes of Special Olympics are a constant reminder that most anything can be accomplished if you are willing to try and the outcome is secondary.
Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.
It was the summer of 1963 and our church youth group, TUXIS, assembled some of us, students, to take a bus into the South. I don’t remember Parents raising a fuss so at the time I don’t think we knew much about what was going on and having lived some many places already our acceptance of people was pretty open. I remember palling around with what I think was the only black student at Carson Long Military school in PA back in the 50’s. Love to know where he is now.
So the bus loaded up with a bunch of white high school students went on a ride to the deep South to meet up with the local church people. I wonder now how that trip might have changed my outlook on life and what I would do in the future.
What I remember:
Being asked who was on the bus when we stopped to eat.
Seeing cigarette burns on some people.
Sleeping on the floor of a gym – part of the school or church I don’t remember.
Seeing a burned out church.
I’m sure there was more but those moment have stuck with me over the years. And I don’t remember if I had a camera with me. I should have. Maybe I’ll find negs tucked away one of these days.
August of 63 Martin Luther King, Jr gave his speech and I don’t think at that time I connected the dots. Even though the chances of meeting him were so very remote, he is someone I regret not meeting and having a chance to spend some time and photograph him for the future.
His words are inspirational and I wish we could take up his challenge for unity and a better tomorrow.
28 Aug 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr give his “I have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
To this day his words ring true and hopefully a Nation united at some point. I think he would not like what he sees today around America.
After having experienced the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. I find these words so poignant to what the students of our nation are trying to do. Maybe it will be the students that bring MLK’s words to fruition.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
To David Hogg – Emma González and all the other students having their voice heard, continue to march forward, don’t turn back.