If I had the opportunity to take one thing back, to rewind something I said and not say it, it would be something I said in September 2000. Yes, one year, almost exactly to the day of the 9/11 attacks. I could look back on the calendar and through my records to figure out the exact day it was, but I am afraid to find out if I did say it on September 11th of 2000.
My family and I were cruising out of New York City, as we had done several times before. On every cruise until that point, I had taken a picture of the New York City skyline. I would take it just before passing under the Verrazano bridge allowing for a beautiful full view. A view that contrasted the “old” skyline with the “new skyline”. The comparison of the small, vintage buildings being over-towered by the modern skyscrapers!
As we passed the magnificent site of the Twin Towers, my husband leaned towards me and said, “Aren’t you going to take a picture?” He knew full well this is what I would do every time we passed. But, now I had several pictures of the New York skyline, from the same perspective, from the past several years. It was beginning to seem repetitious to me: Taking the same, never-changing picture each year. In response I said, “Nah, the New York skyline never changes”.
If only I could take those words back now. One year later, tragic events unfolded. Events we could never have possibly dreamed could or would happen.
And the New York Skyline would never be the same again.
If only I could make that u-turn. If only I could go back and take that one last picture and take back those words I said. Those words echo in my memory bringing forth sadness and regret.
That was the last cruise we took out of New York City where we had the chance to see those beautiful buildings one last time. To take one last picture of them ourselves.
We still continue to cruise and we still continue to cruise out of New York City. I have not missed taking a picture of the city’s skyline ever since. The New York skyline is ever changing. Each year’s picture looks different than the year before and will look different from the year after. It is a photographic timeline documenting America’s strength to recover, rebuild and move forward.