Aurora Remembers 9/11: Tom Lynn
I was standing in the kitchen of my home in Milwaukee, pouring a cup of coffee, the news on the TV playing in the background when I heard something unusual, reports of a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I sat down and watched as live images soon appeared and saw the second plane fly into the south tower.
My reaction was probably a lot like everyone else’s: disbelief, shock and anger.
I knew I would be quickly dispatched to New York. But all flights were grounded. A couple of hours later, I was driving to New York.
I drove most of the day and through the night and headed to Jersey City, N.J. From there, I knew I could see across the Hudson River into lower Manhattan. I also knew that I could catch a train from New Jersey and get quickly into the city.
I arrived before sunrise and made a few images from the river before police cleared the area. I drove down to Liberty State Park just as the filtered sun peaked through the buildings of lower Manhattan. The sun was fragmented by the smoke and ash in the air made an eerie sunrise photo. Soon after sunrise I caught a train into the city.
I remember walking up the stairs from the train to find a street that was nearly vacant, just a few pedestrians, no taxis. It was all so different and quiet, so unlike the normal bustle and hustle of America’s greatest city.
I spent a week in New York following the attacks. Even now, it’s difficult for me to sum up the experience of a city in the aftermath of an enormous disaster. I photographed people searching for lost loved ones, the candlelight vigils that dotted the island and the funeral for Mychal Judge, Chaplain of the New York Fire Department. He was the first recorded victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The mood of the city is something I will never forget, the overwhelming sadness of a city and its people. They survived a catastrophe. They buried their dead.
On September 11, 2001, Aurora Contributor Tom Lynn was a staff photographer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and covered the events following 9/11 for the paper. Today Tom is still working for the Journal Sentinel but works on many personal projects on his own, including his current year long book project for the International Crane Foundation documenting their 200 acre prairie.
To view more images from Tom Lynn, visit Aurora Photos.
On the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Aurora Photos published a series of essays on our blog by Aurora photographers and staff who were in New York, Washington, or Pennsylvania on that day, or covered the events of 9/11 in the days following the attacks.