I shot the first two photos in the early 1990s, the first from the Staten Island Ferry, and the second from the 86th Floor Observatory Deck of the Empire State Building. I lived in Flushing, Queens during this time. The Twin Towers were an important part of my life, as they frequently punctuated childhood visits to Manhattan. I worked there for a week as a temp; worked six months in the neighborhood, and celebrated my first wedding anniversary there.
A Day that will Live in Infamy
When these attacks were launched upon our nation, I was working for Con Edison doing desktop support and LAN administration. I had been there about 18 months and had the good fortune to be at at our Victory Blvd. facility in Staten Island, some 30 miles away from the Twin Towers that day. My wife was supposed to be exiting the Battery Tunnel at the time the first plane struck as she would have been on her way to a dance class. After an hour of frantic calling, I learned that she stayed home.
I wanted a Reagan-like response to the September 11 attacks. As the hours passed, I waited. Nothing. Our response would come October 7, 2001 at 12:30 EDT. I was in Boston with my wife as we visited a relative of hers who was attending Harvard University on a partial scholarship. That day, I felt I had to visit all the historic sites in the area -- Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill, Lexington, Concord. When I heard the Battle Hymn of the Republic being played on church bells, I ran to find a TV, and that was where I saw that the War in Afghanistan had started.
While George W. Bush was no Ronald Reagan, he did keep us safe following 9/11, for there was not one attack on US soil. Indeed many attempts were foiled and many Al Qaeda sleeper cells were busted up.
Much Visible Progress Made at WTC Site since 2011
One WTC (Formerly "Freedom Tower") Viewed from my third floor home office at dusk September 15, 2011 The building was at the 80th Floor level and 1,000 feet. It will rise to 1792 feet at the tip of the lightning rod (1368 feet to the roof with the remainder for the mast).
Distant shot covering Lower Manhattan and Jersey City: One WTC (Formerly "Freedom Tower") viewed from from my third floor home office in Staten Island, NY on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 2021 / 8:21 PM EDT. The building is now at the 105th Fl. and its final roof height of 1,368 feet. The mast is to be erected by year's end. The Tribute in Light was being tested, when I took this photo. Because I'm took the photo through a window which I cannot open due to an air conditioner, there is a fair amount of ghosting.
Close-Up: One WTC (Formerly "Freedom Tower") viewed from from my third floor home office in Staten Island, NY on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 2022 / 8:22 PM EDT. Because I'm took the photo through a window which I cannot open due to an air conditioner, there is a fair amount of ghosting.
One and Four WTC are easily seen from my 2nd Fl. master bedroom as well. This photo was taken September 10, 2012 at 2043 / 8:43 PM EDT while the Tribute in Light was being tested.
This photo was taken September 6, 2012 at 2300 / 11:00 PM EDT from my second floor master bedroom while the Tribute in Light was being tested. I took this photo through the glass high up on the window.
Four WTC is topped off. The interior tower crane cab and boom have been removed. This photo was taken September 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM EDT.
One WTC west face up into the heavens...This photo was taken September 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM EDT.
Close-Up to the top: One WTC west face up into the heavens...This photo was taken September 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM EDT.
WTC Update 2012
While One and Four WTC are very well on their way to completion, the news is not so good at the rest of the WTC site. Working our way around the site, the performing arts center is pretty much a broken dream. The transit hub structural steel has reached grade level, but the building is way over budget and this is after value engineering. Though it will be a beautiful transit center, the $4 billion price tag is very heavy for a subway station that will serve about 60,000 commuters per year. Silverstein Properties is building 200 Greenwich Street (Two WTC) and 175 Greenwich Street (Three WTC), and both buildings are being capped as seven-story buildings for now housing only retail. No tenants have signed leases in either of these buildings and without signed, committed leases, no bank will finance construction of an office tower. Though the outdoor portion of the memorial is functioning and has been receiving visitors since last year - the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks - the memorial museum is at a standstill for lack of funding. With Deutsche Bank finally demolished two years ago, the Vehicle Security Center is proceeding on pace, and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is to be rebuilt atop it. Another office tower - Five WTC - is not even in a design phase at this point, given the circumstances with Two and Three. Prior designs for Five WTC have long since been scrapped.
Part of this is rooted in the 300-year-old rivalry between Midtown and Downtown. Midtown commands far higher rents than Downtown. Technology has also reduced the need for humongous trading floors and offices, as our smart phones, laptops, and tablets enable us to work anywhere: in the office, at home, in another state or halfway around the world. When the Twin Towers were built, we used rotary phones and mimeographs. Computers were mainframes that needed an entire floor. Movies were on reels and the eight-track tape was advanced technology. Even in the 11 years that have passed since the destruction of the WTC site, offices and office technology have completely changed. When Towers Two, Three and Five are finally built, they will no doubt reflect and serve the needs of tenants for the era in which they're built.
You can see regularly updated progress on the WTC site at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's WTC Progress site. You can also view the official One WTC site, and Silverstein Properties WTC Site for more information.
Resurrection and Juxtaposition
It was at the same Victory Blvd. facility nearly seven years to the day following 9/11, that I would hear the resurrection of Ronald Reagan. As I pulled my assigned minivan out of the lot and turned on the radio, her voice and words would so transfix me that after two blocks I could not drive anymore. The yearning for leadership I felt at that Victory Blvd. location some seven years earlier was answered by a woman's voice, whose name I did not even know at the time.
Gov. Palin's Commander-In-Chief Experience Highlights
Though former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is not currently running for any elective office, today is a day we have traditionally highlighted her Commander-In-Chief experience. It is right and appropriate that this tradition continue.
Gov. Palin has commander-in-chief experience and accomplishments that were concomitant with her job. Two, very simple phrases describe her military doctrine: "peace through strength," and "we win, they lose." In her speech delivered at Colorado Christian University on May 2, 2011, Gov. Palin outlined her five-point military doctrine in detail:
- First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.
- Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that, we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not stretch out our military with open-ended and ill-defined missions. Nation building is a nice idea in theory, but it is not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.
- And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly and concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent into battle. Period.
- Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side with our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and the command of American officers.
- Fifth, sending in our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual. When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we will provide them with material support to help them win their own freedom.
Gov. Palin's military doctrine is clearly patterned after her forebear, Ronald Reagan.
Watch as she interrupted her own VP campaign to return to Alaska and bid her troops farewell to Iraq on September 11, 2008. Her son, Track was among them.
She elevated soldiers' ranks...
She saluted her Non-Commissioned Officers....
She was saluted as a Commander...
Walter Reed Part I, December 6, 2009 7:01 AM EST:
Twitter: "Headed to Walter Reed hospital this morn to meet wounded warriors;will give them msg of support from patriots who love these selfless troops."
Walter Reed Part II, December 6, 2009 10:41 AM EST:
Twitter: "Leaving Walter Reed Hosp;met America's finest;seeing these young soldiers who sacrifice so much changes your life/puts things in perspective."
Craig E. Campbell who served as Alaska's Lieutenant Governor, and as the Alaska National Guard's Adjutant General discusses Gov. Palin's Commander-in-Chief skills in the foregoing video. Campbell has since gone on to become President and Chief Operating Officer of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. Special thank you to Gary P. Jackson for informing me about this video, which aired in 2008. Selected quotes from the video:
"Right after she got elected, when she was sworn in as governor, one of the first things in one of our briefings -- she asked me 'where are our soldiers (AK National Guard) deployed and how can I go see them?"
-Craig E. Campbell
"When she came home to Alaska, she brought home ideas about what soldiers' desires were, what family needs were and implemented those into law the following year...that's what a Commander-in-Chief does - is take care of soldiers, take care of airman, and she does it exceptionally well."
-Craig E. Campbell
"She is above and beyond what a governor would do. I've watched and seen this for a long time in many states around the country. There a few governors that rise to the challenge and they take the National Guard as their own and they really want to provide the services that a commander-in-chief needs. Sarah Palin does that. She goes to deployments, she goes to returns. When we work the budget for the state, she wants to make sure that the state is putting the right amount of money in to support the soldiers' and airman's needs and our National Guard. When she does policy, she makes sure soldier's families are taken care of in the State of Alaska. This is what a Commander-in-Chief does."
-Craig E. Campbell
From: "Governor Palin Visits Alaska National Guard in Kosovo" on the State of Alaska, Governor archive site:
"As commander-in-chief, Governor Palin is the one we look to for leadership and inspiration while serving and defending the sovereign boundaries of Alaska," said Lt. Gen. (AK) Craig E. Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard.
Gov. Palin at the WTC site and with FDNY 2008
Gov. Palin's Leadership...
-"Praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes"
-Lead in order to serve, not in order to rule.