Learning How to Remember


We all have a story of where we were and how we felt, and those stories make September 11, 2001 personal to each and every one of us. They are important, and we should share them with friends, strangers … our children, when the time is right. Time has healed some aspects, others may never be healed, but certainly this ten-year anniversary – can it have been an entire decade already? – causes us to reflect.

I know how I felt, I know my stories, I know whom I lost and the friends of friends lost and the cascade of events that followed. I have thought about these stories time and again and they are a part of my fabric now. What is surprising me now, as our country re-examines the event this week, is what I did not know – the stories just now coming to light. They caught me off guard; these tales that take me right back to the day. Reading them, I am as emotional as the moment the first tower fell. One in particular, about a woman ready to become a suicide bomber (before that was a common phrase) to save others, astounds me. Read it here at the Washington Post:


The innocence of the country as a whole, even our own military preparedness, as reflected in that story, marks a time we no longer inhabit.

I keep one memento, in my office on a shelf, that keeps me mindful of all I have, and how a moment can change it all … so being grateful is a form of respect for those who have suffered loss.

This photo was taken for THE SWEATER BOOK, a project by photographer Stephen Mosher, wherein he photographed actors, designers, composers – a general Broadway lot – all wearing or interacting with this single sweater. I chose to take the shot on the balcony of a penthouse suite at the Soho Grand (I could do so because my wonderful brother-in-law built the place). I stood on the table outdoors, put my face in the wind and let the breeze carry the sweater. The photo says everything about how much I loved being a part of New York. This was 1997. It wouldn’t be until 2001 that Stephen would call me to ask if I’d looked at the photo recently. Neither of us had ever really taken notice of the towers standing tall behind me. In the thousands of photos Stephen has taken over the years, this is his only shot of the Twin Towers. Mine, too. They were part of the landscape – as permanent as anything. Four years after this shot was taken, the week of September 17th, I would stay for several nights in that same suite at the Soho Grand, sit at that same table and watch the smoke from the fires still burning, trying to wrap my mind around the hole in the sky. This photo: it’s serenity, my confidence and trust, and my innocence was a moment in my life that I am eternally grateful … was photographed. There was a time like this.

Like all Americans, I salute our heroes, honor those lost, and hope for our future.


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