This is a sad day in the United States, as well as in the rest of the civilized world. I cannot imagine many individuals who do not remember what they were doing at the exact moment when they heard about the attacks on the Twin Tower Buildings in New York on Sept. 11, 2001 That Tuesday I was just getting ready to walk into a classroom to teach my twice-a-week Quantum Mechanics class, when a colleague in the Physics Department ran up to me to announce, “Did you hear what happened! A plane flew into the World Trade Center!”
Like many others on 9/11, initially I thought it must have been an accident, that an airplane had lost control and collided with one of the twin skyscrapers, just as in 1945 an American B-25, flying in the fog, had flown into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. My colleagues and I found a television set in the department, but as we watched the fire and smoke billowing out of the structure, we saw a second plane, “…at full throttle” as the British Prime Minister Tony Blair would later describe it, slam into the second tower. (Events now felt eerily similar to those of Nov. 22, 1963, when I was a young university student, and someone ran into my classroom, blurting out that the President had been shot.) Transfixed, we watched the havoc that followed — people running out of the building, and a few actually jumping out of the upper stories. I remember one couple holding hands as they jumped out of the 80th floor — the ultimate act of solidarity, and shared misery. Then we all saw the two buildings collapse, dust and debris exploding through the streets, evocative of the pyroclastic flow from a volcanic eruption, people, covered with dust, desperately sprinting away from the oncoming cloud.
In the early 1970s on visits to New York, I had photographed the Twin Towers as they were being built. In the early 90s I had taken photos from a historic church down the street, with magical light and shadows illuminating the towers, and the ancient headstones at the church lying in the shaded foreground. It was one of my favorite photographs, but I now see it as a premonition of things to come. I also remember in the late 90s taking a helicopter ride over the city and shooting images of the Towers and the Statue of Liberty from above. Rather than submit either of those photos, I decided to submit a picture of part of the television antenna crowning one of the 110 story buildings, and as a Workshop a picture showing the array of newspapers from the next day.
Another Trekearth member, Betty Jones had submitted a pair of photos of the Newseum, seen from the Outside and of the Atrium.
Almost simultaneously with the planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings, a third plane was flown into the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane that had been highjacked, with an intended target again in Washington, crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania. In that case, it was the action of the passengers that prevented the terrorists from flying to Washington and destroying another government building with countless additional casualties. Their’s was the ultimate sacrifice. The total number of deaths that day was around 3,000.
Life has not been the same since 9/11. Most of us feel the consequences of that day only in the inconvenience we must put up with at airports. But the United States went to war in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Tens-of-thousands of innocent lives have been lost in these wars. How very sad that it is along religious lines that this sort of act of terrorism takes place. It has been said that more blood has been spilled in the Kingdom of God than in all other kingdoms. Unhappily, one more time we see the effects of ignorance, illiteracy, and religious intolerance.
I’ve spent most of my life teaching theoretical physics, and I’ve written about the very rare geniuses, Leonardo and Newton. Ultimately, even in that rarified level of intelligence, genius has its limits, but stupidity has no limits.
Finally, I wrote a blog for the National Geographic that echoes this post. If you happen to remember where you were when you first about the attacks, I would love to have you share your experience by writing a comment at News Watch National Geographic.
Critiques | Translate
snunney (104717) 2011-09-11 7:20
Difficult to critique this image, the photograph and your commentary says all that needs to be said on the anniversary of this horrific event. Like you I remember what I was doing on that day and the day Kennedy was assassinated.
ManuMay (36287) 2011-09-11 7:23
What to say...words are not enough...A nie tribute yours on this day...let´s learn something about all those things happened...
KLB (23723) 2011-09-11 7:35
Thanks for this moved account.
Never forget, sure.
Bergenphotos (2908) 2011-09-11 8:13
As snunney says, it's difficult to critique this one. I remember that day very well, being a 4th-grader. And I remember we talked about it in the school the day after. This picture is a nice tribute. Well written note as well. Let's never forget this day. TFS
lakshmip1949 (19081) 2011-09-11 8:17
A nice tribute to New York city on the 10th anniversary of this tragic event. I go near ground zero almost every week. It is very sad not to see the twin buildings any more. Your text is very informative. Thanks for sharing.
agjika (3177) 2011-09-11 9:21
There doesn't seem to be a limit to what evil are we humans capable of. We seem to want to be "god" all of us. As you say in the end there is only one cause to all misery: ignorance.
Thanks for sharing
paololg (31448) 2011-09-11 9:22
Ciao dear Bulent,
yes, you're right, since that fateful day, life is not the same. I read with much interest and excitement your story notes, impossible to be indifferent. I especially agree with the conclusion of your notes, ignorance, illiteracy, and religious intolerance are the cause of all wars. Where there is culture and respect there is also peace. When the whole world will be one people civilized, will also be a world of peace. I hope before its end.
I wish you a happy week, dear friend!
annjackman (21901) 2011-09-11 9:36
Your note expresses very well what we feel. In the UK today and over the last week there have been many programmes on TV reliving and analysing events of 9/11 and those of the last 10 years. An eloquent tribute from you - TFS.
I like very much the image that you have shown.
Best wishes, Ann
emka (104210) 2011-09-11 11:32
I feel so ashamed that I haven't posted something as a tribute in the day of the anniversary of this horrible day. I am old enough to remember the day in Dallas, and 9/11. I learned about the events only in the evening. That day I spent sightseeing in Warsaw with my German friend. When i came home, I saw the collapsing towers in TV. I couldn't believe it happened. I thought it was computer simulation. The view of the person waving white kerchief somewhere up always will remain in memory. My neighbour (but I do not know him personally) lost his son in WTC. Polish soldiers and journalists were killed in Afghanistan. So, it is sad anniversary also for Poland.
You recommended me to visit Newseum. I remember well this antenna.
Moving note and photo.
PaulVDV (31173) 2011-09-11 13:36
A long and very interesting note about your thoughts on this sad anniversary.
It is a sad day for humanity.
Despite the fact that in the last decade, much more people died in natural disasters, the loss of lives due to terrorist attacks and to ensuing wars has a far greater impact on our lives and on the history of mankind.
But I'm afraid that 10 years later, there's still no progress in mutual respect.
Best regards, Paul
Sonata11 (33971) 2011-09-11 14:22
10 years after 9/11, it's hard to believe.
. Is nothing more I can say, only sorrow in this day and always. People never learn, they always making mistake and civilians people have to pay FOR what!!! Great picture . Thanks for sharing and for informative note.
All the best and have a nice Sunday,
MLINES (12516) 2011-09-11 16:46
Hi Bulent, A fine image of a sad event. Good notes which explain the unexplainable. There will obviously be a lot of interest in this display for many decades ahead. Thanks also for the link to your NG blog. TFS. Murray
Suppiluliuma (3913) 2011-09-11 23:15
Touching account of 9/11.
The fact that the lady bent over the explanatory note added some feeling of respect for all those who perished in those events.
Graal (103038) 2011-09-12 0:16
good occasionaly (at IX.11) two photos. It was terrible day in NY. Good reportage and interesting note. Well done photos.
Have a nice day.
jhm (157878) 2011-09-12 4:38
I think that every one exactly know where he was on this moment, I was in the hospital by my son, he was surgery.
That a small group people much millions people bring in the misery and sorrow, this in a modern civilization, incredible.
Perhaps have to all religions think what is freedom, war is never a solution, here in my country have two world wars during four year raged.
I was yesterday together with Belgian, Canadian, Polish and British people on the commemoration to Adegem in my community, all the victims soldiers 1940-1944 between 17 and 28 year old, alone killed in these area of 10 mile, where i lived then with my parents!
Why, why and a lot times why
Excellent composition, good captured.
Very well done, TFS.
ghost_man (1006) 2011-09-12 23:14
Tebrikler Bülent Bey,
Anlamlı ve harika bir çalışma.
anokutan (15097) 2011-09-13 0:58
Bülent Bey merhaba,
Modern dünyanın bize miras bıraktığı nesnelerden nefis bir görüntü sunmuşsunuz.Saygılarımla.
DjoleEric (0) 2011-09-13 4:07
Purely a good photograph.
Excellent image quality and dumb hard shadows.
Excellent and professional.
Have a nice day.
nobuikehonda (3848) 2011-09-13 4:18
Hello Professor Atalay,
I was in Germany, in one of many banks. As I was on my way out from there, I saw an image of World Trade Centre on fire on a large TV screen in the hall. I thought first it was another Hollywood’s movie, so I continued watching. Then, very slowly I began to find out the true nature of what was happening. I do not recall for how long, but I just stood there and watched the second plane smashing into the second tower. There were many others who witnessed the moment. I was one of them. Then I could not have a realistic feeling and was not capable of realising the seriousness of what it was happening in New York City. It took me a few days to truly realize what it had taken place. I took my telephone and called a friend for just in case he happened to be there, it was very possible. One of the most tragic natures of all this and wars, it is always the most innocent who pay the price for what they are not responsible for. Violence does not solve any problem. My parents’ generation knows that very well. What is even more tragic is the fact that we still do not have the solutions for it. So the violence continues to be used as a means to achieve what some people believe is their rights.
Very best regards, professor,
Urs (14082) 2011-09-13 6:56
A decade has passed since 911 but the world is not safer most probably it is worse then before the magic date. In my view each group is more radical today. We have to stop it and make peace with each other, otherwise that nightmare of bombing etc will never end. Good example of the 911 phenomena, well done
limielski (0) 2011-09-13 7:03
Time heals all sorrows. Many people suffers today, yet. It is difficult to forget - it's impossible. In this day (11 Sept 2001) I called to my friend in New York, luckily nothing bad happened to her.
Thank you very much for your comment and your photo!
Best regards, Leszek
Charo (51212) 2011-09-13 12:45
I was eating at home with the TV on and was shocked by what he saw. These days this sad event has been a reminder in the news around the world.
I would say something I think but do not want to offend anyone, then you better street and that opinion is mine alone. (Only if this happens in any other country would have already forgotten after 10 years.)
A single image of such a reminder of what happened.
Longroute (19396) 2011-09-15 2:10
This date could not be passed under silence and this photo cannot be ignored... but I was away from home when you posted so I want to add my feelings of participation and solidarity now.
A meaningful and well framed image and a great note.
Ten years has passed, it looks like a week to me!
all the best,
shevchenko (20548) 2011-09-18 19:51
Thanks for sharing. The terrorist attack is unforgetable, thought people are still feeling sad while re-read news displaying in this museum, condolence to the victims.
macjake (71053) 2011-09-19 15:27
i'm not sure what else needs to be commented on, as you hit the mark very well in the wright up.
and yes, i was at ground zero for the 10 anniversary, but i couldn't get too close due to all the security.
I really wanted to see the memorial, but i will go back to nyc again in the future, so there will be another time.
serp2000 (45312) 2011-09-20 19:44
I remember that black day, I remember my emotions and these words, that I wrote to my far American friends.
Thanks for this interesting reportage. Original composition from an exhibition.
Warm regards from Urals,
delpeoples (59430) 2011-09-20 21:26
Merhaba dear Bulent
A very poignant tribute to something that has changed all our lives around the globe. I remember that day so well - it was the early hours of the 12th for us here. As an insomniac I was up watching television and couldn't believe what I saw - a plane flying into a building. And then another one. What words can describe it? And what words can give it the respect it deserves? Well they fail me. But yours are very beautiful and appropriate. Thank you for sharing this day and your thoughts with us.
s_lush (16600) 2011-09-22 12:06
Thanks for such a touching story about those sad events. Your post is a ponderable contribution into commemoration of the 9/11 tragedy.
Silvio1953 (150245) 2011-09-24 3:34
Ciao Bulent, great you remember this sad day, we never forget 11 september 2001, ecellent composition with splendid light and wondeful clarity, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
papagolf21 (106780) 2011-09-26 5:09
Bonjour, mon cher ami Bulent,
La Nature est toujours là, pourtant. Elle oppose ses ciels calmes et ses raisons à la folie des hommes.
Ne pas oublier !
Merci pour ce vibrant hommage.
photoray (13981) 2011-09-28 6:28
Thank you for the expressive photo, the informative background and personal details.
The tragedies following have been even greater with military actions.
My desire and hope is - we learn from our past mistakes, especially the most costly and stupid ones....
eldancer1 (36343) 2011-09-28 9:17
Very nice tribute to the victims of 9/11. Great capture with good lighting and good details. Wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
By the way, my motorcycle post was taken during a motorcycle rally to commemorate 9/11, over 1,000 bikes participated in the event.
nikkitta (17068) 2011-09-28 20:17
I arrive late but I arrive but not easy to comment the photo, your comment and ws are very good indeed
Once I stay at the Marriot , the hotel that was between the towers and I loved to take pictures of their shadows at the afternoon
On this day I was going to gym when the phone rang, was a friend(who knows I never watch or listen news at the mornings), he only said
Turn on the TV !
May I share Charo idea that if have happened in another country it will be forgotten long ago?
Anyway lets hope for a world with less violence
RhodieIke (11744) 2011-09-29 12:00
Hi Bulent, Thanks for so much information regarding this terrible attacks on the Twin Tower Buildings. Iain. May they all rest in peace.
jemaflor (101285) 2011-10-05 11:58
Interesting contribution with this impressive view for this sad day, well taken with people, good vertical presentation.
danyy (0) 2011-10-06 0:01
c'est pour le moins abstrait, l'angle de prise de vue tente de nous en montrer un maximum sur cette sculpture. Des lumières difficiles bien gérées.
My kind regards.
Didi (60590) 2011-10-11 1:34
Hi my friend
Indeed it was a sad day.
Interesting approach to your subject. I note a very good control of lights and a good frame quality.
jafadabret (56501) 2011-10-12 23:20
Tu as su donner à cette photo toute l'émotion reliée à cette triste journée.
Très beau travail et bel hommage !
ChrisJ (117199) 2011-11-14 5:32
I decided to catch a little of the late tv news at 11pm just before I retired to sleep on 9/11/01, & go to work in the morning. I ended up being glued to the tv set in astonishment until past 3 am in the morning. I remember thinking my supervisor is going to be none to pleased with me, as I only got 4 hours sleep & felt like a zombie. Turns out my boss stayed up until around 3 am too watching the same program along with Bill Clinton in his Cairns, Qld, Australia Hotel! (He just happened to be in Australia then). Anyway it's good they kept mementos & evidence to contradict the conspiracy theorists that it was all a Hollywood Movie. Unfortunately it was all too real.
aliabazari (16252) 2012-02-07 23:48
With the Hello.
The image is very nice with a good composition