9/11 - Ten Years Later

By Sid Birns on October 26, 2011

Ex-New Yorker, now Montrealer, veteran of Omaha Beach, and postwar NY-based staff photographer for UPI, photojournalist Sid Birns shares his thoughts and images as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the shock and tragedy that was 9/11.

sid_birns_01.jpgThe building of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers) started in 1968 and was completed in 1973. One hundred ten stories tall, the spires could  be seen from all parts of the city and were visible for an easy twenty five plus miles when flying into any of the New York-serving airports.

sid_birns_02.jpgThe Twin Towers became an icon of New York City as well as a symbol  of pride to the city dwellers themselves. In their simplicity, they were a unique statement for their times. Going straight up to a height of 1360 feet, made of steel, glass and concrete steel reinforced  floors, they were controversiaJ right from the start but ultimately were adopted as the landmark we now sadly remember.

September 11th, 2001, like its predecessor (December  7th, 1941-the bombing of Pearl Harbor), will go down in infamy  and has changed the way we view the world and the world  views us, not only as Americans but as free people everywhere.

sid_birns_03.jpgSince the destruction of the Twin Towers,  America  has closed ranks and become more of a unified country. As the Japanese Admiral reflected after they bombed Pearl Harbor, "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant." Then as now, the provoked giant has awoken, and  the world  is now a far harder place to plan and mount this type of large-scale civilian attack  because of the lead that America  has taken.

sid_birns_04.jpgWithin fifteen minutes of the first plane crashing into the north tower, the second plane crashed into the south tower. I happened to be watching television at exactly the time the second plane hit the south tower and like many people, I thought it was a movie. But of course, it was only moments later that we all learned the truth: that war, no matter in what form, had come to the United States.

sid_birns_05.jpgIt has been my good fortune as a photojournalist, to have been privileged to take many photos of the Twin Towers, and hopefully to have them become part of the history of what happened on September 11th, 2001. It is my pleasure and honor to share these images with The Metropolitain and its readers on the 10th anniversary of this terrible event.


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