Somber. Soaring. Stern. Eerily silent. Chi Modu's breathtaking portrait of the late hip-hop legend Notorious B.I.G. resonates as powerfully as ever on this Sept. 11 anniversary. Chi, the former staff photographer, tells the story behind this photo:
Born in Matanzas in 1961, George Merino emigrated with his family when he was only 7 and settled in New York. He lived in Bayside, Queens, and was a securities analyst at Fiduciary Trust, located in the World Trade Center.
We collectively share what happened 13 years ago, the events that changed our world forever, but each of us also owns a personal narrative from that fateful morning. Where I live, in the suburbs of New York City, we were especially hard hit.
On September 13, I put on a dust mask and carried two grocery bags full of produce so that I could pass for a below-Canal St. resident and get close to Ground Zero. It was true that only residents were allowed to cross the barricades, but I felt a strong need to feel connected.
Apparently the conference room that I had been standing in just a few minutes before was now obliterated. Had I decided to stay up on 78 instead of returning to my office when I did, I would not be alive today.
Thirteen years later, I believe we have once again become complacent with some issues. The media is once again only showing us what they want us to see rather than what is actually going on. Here's how our world has changed.
As a survivor of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I worry about how we will remember that tragic day 50, 100, even 200 years from now. Our efforts to honor history consistently lead to one of two disappointing outcomes.
This is perhaps the greatest legacy of 9/11 and the two wars it spawned. A nation that, whiled honoring its dead, seeks to preserve more of its fighting men and women from being sent into harm's way to die for dubious causes.
Every year, this day sneaks up on me, like a wedding or Christmas. That underlying stress I can't put my finger on until it arrives and I'm forced to either feel or act like nothing happened. I woke up. I lived.
This anonymous little store will endure as the truest testament of what was there and all that was lost. It stands as the purest expression of memory possible: A memory encased in continuing function at the service of architecture and its modern demands.
A nation's politicians and foreign policy do not define its people; ordinary citizens reacting extraordinarily define its people. My neighbors, friends and thousands of other people like them make America strong, rich and resilient.
Over the past seven years, I've been allowed to observe and document the process of conceiving, curating, building, and now opening to the public the National 9/11 Memorial Museum. My images and recordings span seven remarkable years.