September 11 2001 Photo Essay

September 11 2001 Photo Essay-2
A man falls from one of the World Trade Center towers.

A man falls from one of the World Trade Center towers.

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It appeared in the anthology "Empire City: New York Through the Centuries." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Three-hundred and forty-one New York City firefighters. The New York City Fire Department had lost 778 men from its founding in 1865 until September 10, 2001.

In the course of one morning, it lost nearly half that historic total.

On the streets people stood frozen in mid-commute, gathered at street corners, talking to strangers or on their cell phones, gazing at the blazing scars cut into the sides of the Twin Towers.

I passed a kindergarten playground opposite a firehouse where children were still playing as their teachers looked over their shoulders at the buildings burning in the distance.

After all, they had been bombed before in 1993, and though six people had died and thousands were injured, the Twin Towers still stood.

Subways were shut down and taxis proved impossible to find, so I made my way down Broadway against a sea of people evacuating uptown.

The "Tribute in Light" marks where the World Trade Center buildings stood to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, and President Barack Obama stand during a memorial service at the Pentagon in Washington.

The 2001 attacks resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Obama attended the memorial service, near where American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Despite the cloudless sky, I tried to convince myself that this also could have been an accident.

At , the second plane banked sickly toward the south tower as the world watched on television.

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