One Day Later
Manhattan, September 12th, 2001
On that day, there were some people picking up "souvenirs" around the attack site. As hard as it is to believe, these were scavengers stooping to pick up business documents, office equipment, ID badges and other personal items, and stuffing them in bags. I'd like to believe that all those items were turned in to help the identification process. I'd like to believe that.
I had saved a couple of things myself. One day later, I placed the two items I had saved into a ziplock baggie, where they've been until I photographed them for this story.
Below, is the face mask I found lying on the ground on the outskirts of the financial district on September 11th, which I donned immediately. I've never read any explanation regarding how those thousands of face masks were available and being worn by so many people on the street. What company had prepared for such a circumstance?
Wherever they came from, I remain very grateful to whomever supplied the one that I found. I kept that face mask on for hours, finally removing it when I was halfway across the Hudson River. Perhaps that's why I'm not among the many thousands of folks who were downtown on that awful day who now suffer from countless different respiratory disorders.
The second thing I saved is this charred bit of paper. I was standing very close to World Trade Center Building 7, which was still burning, and when I took my cap off to wipe my brow, this piece of paper, still glowing at the edges, landed in my upturned cap.
This piece of still burning paper landed in my hat like a smoking fortune cookie, and I've puzzled over the text many times. It seems like it could have come from some business or self-help motivational book, but one line always jumps out at me.
"....motivations and reasons behind the actions...."
Four years later, we're still figuring it out.