On February 15, 1998, to celebrate Valentine’s Day (belated), I went to the top of the Empire State Building in Manhattan with a girl. It was the first of many firsts. It was the first time I went on a date. It was the first time I visited the Empire State Building. It was the first time I saw, with my own eyes, the unmistakable Twin Towers that stood for everything we’ve loved.
The landscape of Lower Manhattan has drastically changed since then. But I will let this photograph serve as a memento that eternalizes this brief fraction of time that has been deeply buried in the back of my memory. Now as I revisit the Empire State Building again more than a decade later, I understand, for the first time, that it is only amidst fragility, chaos, and uncertainty we can see the best in the human spirit. And now I understand, for the first time, why I love photography.
Rest in peace to those who lost their lives 12 years ago in this act of terrorism on the United States. Whether you were in the towers, down below, in the planes, or sacrificing your life to help and save the lives of others, you will never be forgotten. May your family and loved ones find peace in their hearts and know that they will forever have the entire nation behind them and supporting them throughout their lives.
September 11, 2001. Never forget.