On 09/12/01 I walked from 14th street and Union Square down to the hole in the ground that used to be the Twin Towers. It was an eerie and surrealistic experience. Check points with soldiers and policemen were on every block. Somehow I found a way to get to within two blocks of the center of the destruction. The light had a strange brownish glow due to a mixture of the heavy particles of the disentegrated buildings filtering the winter sunlight. Many people were wearing face masks to help them breathe. I was struck by the nearly universal dazed and shocked expressions of a multitude of awe struck onlookers like myself. However, as bad as it was, I was also struck by the noble activity of hundreds - or was it thousands - of workers and volunteers that were quietly, and methodically attending to the grim work of cleaning up this horrible lower manhatten "Pearl Harbor" mess.
Returning to Union Square I came upon a hastily erected evolving memorial. On subequent days I came upon similar memorials, most notably a large one in Grand Central Station. What most stirred me were pictures of kin who were unaccounted for as yet, apparently posted by relatives and friends, desperately clinging to the hope that their loved ones had some escaped the horror and might be recognized by someone, anyone, who would take the time to carefully scan their names and faces and. if indeed spotted, would hopefully notify them. It was quite shaking to have to face up to the brutal fact that nothing is absolutely secure - life is tenuous at best. Perhaps all that can be done at such times is to try to remain steady and, if so inclined, to record such occurrences as objectively as is humanly possible.