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Going Forward

Sep 13

In Rambling at 9:01pm

Blog will be light this week as we dig ourselves out of a pretty sizable 911 project, and I head to China tomorrow. I did cover the opening ceremonies of New Jersey’s heartfelt and amazing memorial, Empty Sky.

The memorial is a simple, poignant architectural expression of the grief and sacrifice of  the 746 New Jerseyans who were lost on 911.  The twin slabs of concrete and polished steel lay on their sides, and are created in the same aspect ratio as the original towers. If you stand between the two, your sight line is directly at the former site of WTC. Simple, powerful and riveting architecture, the product of incredibly talented Jessica Jamroz, who won the international competition to design the memorial.

It’s funny how memories of 911 stick with you. As I looked through the lens to frame up this shot, which was the only decent picture I snapped all day, my attention was caught by the name Rick Rescorla. An employee of Morgan Stanley, who had warned all comers about the possibility of an airborne attack on the towers, he successfully shepherded most of MS’ employees to safety according to an evac plan he had devised and insisted they practice. He searched the floors, making sure people were gone, and distracted many from the immediacy of danger by singing inspirational songs into his bullhorn. He perished in the collapse of WTC-2. His remains have never been found. He is surely responsible for saving the lives of many that day.

The Faces of Ground Zero show is down, and stored again, with thanks again due to volunteers from FDNY. I’ll get caught up to some thoughts and feelings over the next couple of weeks of blogs. Many thanks as always for stopping by. Did the guest blog for Scott Kelby today, where I ruminate about a strange land beyond a yellow border. Head over there, if you have a moment, check it out. More tk….

Paul Rice says:

on September 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Joe you may or may not know that Rick Rescorla was a hero many times over. Search out an original printing of “We Were Soldiers Once” (not the later copies with Mel Gibson on the cover) and Rick was featured on the cover, having been a lieutenant during that operation in the Ia Drang Valley. As a member of a few different military services (foreign included) his was a very interesting life. To survive so many battles and to be taken down in that manner seems ironic but he died with honor, class, and as a true soldier, serving and protecting others.

Matt Penning says:

on September 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Another deeply moving story to illustrate how much so many have lost, yet how connected we are as fellow human beings. Thank you for inspiring me, and countless others, Joe, to see and tell the stories in each other’s lives.

James Bruce says:

on September 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Hi Joe,

Saw you photographing the memorial on FOX news. I wondered what the outcome would be. Thanks for all you do. See you in Lake Placid

Jason says:

on September 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm

What you did with “Faces…” is both inspiring and moving. It’s amazing how many lives you’ve touched with your exhibit. Safe travels to China!

Tony Buttitta says:

on September 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Hey Joe,

Great meeting you in NYC at the Starbucks. I went right across the street after talking to you and checked out your “Faces of Ground Zero” show. It was amazing. Great to meet you and have a safe trip to China.


Michael Rubin says:

on September 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm


As always you manage to capture a critical moment with a unique perspective-whether with the photo-or the story of the photo.

Safe travels,

Rob Oresteen says:

on September 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Great post and picture, Joe. Thank you for the story about Rick Rescorla. We need to remember the heroes.

Randy Brogen says:

on September 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Joe … thank you for sharing, it means a lot.


Janine Smith says:

on September 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

My memory is of Ann Judge, Director of Travel for National Geographic. Some wondered why she didn’t call on her cell phone. I know why. She was taking care of those students on her watch.

I miss her every day. Such a loss.


Richard Davis says:

on September 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Drew posted a link to a news clip on Twitter about this a few days ago ( In the short interview even Jessica appears surprised at the effect of the sun creating a halo when reflected in the walls. Testament to the memory not only of the the 746 New Jerseyans but all the innocent victims who perished that day and their rescuers who suffer even now.

Bruce Anthony says:

on September 14, 2011 at 1:25 am

reflecting on your photo, thank you

bycostello says:

on September 14, 2011 at 4:12 am

still remember it like it was yesterday….

William Gillquist says:

on September 14, 2011 at 4:40 am

Very thoughtful, Joe. Thank you.

JoeH says:

on September 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

If I only got one image, yours would be the one I would be greatful to have.

The background story is moving as well.

f/8nate says:

on September 14, 2011 at 7:55 am

more times than not i come out of this blog with the top of my head tingling- gotta be due to reverence, respect, or admiration- whatever- you, sir, are awesome! nate parker

Bob says:

on September 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

slowly moving forward here. Grateful to have seen FGZ, 10 Years Later. There are still copies of your Time book around here and there if any one is interested. I found an excellent copy. Thanks Joe for making this difference.

Dennis Pike says:

on September 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

I took my wife to see the faces of ground zero about two weeks ago. I knew it was something I had to see in person. It was a rainy tuesday. We walked from the Port Authority bus terminal to Columbus circle, all the while dodging head level umbrellas. We looked at every photograph. We read every word. We both openly cried… sobbed. When we finished looking and walked back out into the rain soaked streets on NYC my wife turned to me and said “That was the most moving piece of art I have ever seen.” I whole heartedly agreed. We went downtown and had dinner, then went to see the Book of Mormon and proceeded to laugh our asses off. It was a bitter sweet, emotional day. a few days later, I flew to Florida out of Newark., on the 10th anniversary. I was about to walk through security at 8:46… they closed it off and had a 2 minute moment of silence. I took my hat off and cried again. The images of Faces of Ground Zero etched in my head. I am so glad I saw that in person. Thank you, Joe.

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