The image is unforgettable, the pain still palpable. In these photos from the files of this newspaper, we see what was once unimaginable – the towers of the World Trade Center surmounted by a plume of gray smoke, not long before they crumbled.
There is no New Yorker that was unaffected by the 9/11 terrorist attack, and we should take the time on this anniversary, the 15th since the destruction of the World Trade Center, to reflect on those we lost that day, and the heroes – many members of the city’s uniformed services, many anonymous – who helped each other and the city as a whole on that awful day and in the weeks and months that followed, as we slowly worked toward recovery.
These are scenes from the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks that are emblazoned on the memories of everyone who lived through it – smoke billowing from Ground Zero as desperate and exhausted people made their way on foot from lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge; Ridgeites gathered on the 69th Street Pier (where southwest Brooklyn’s 9-11 memorial is located today) watching the cataclysm across the water; the American flag bright against the bleak ruins; flower tributes left at firehouses; the workers at Ground Zero taking a break from their exhausting and heartbreaking task.
As many as 20,000 were initially feared dead in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but that total would eventually be revised and lowered once the missing were accounted for. More than 2,700 perished in the attacks, and in the hours after 9/11, a combination of first responders and construction workers frantically worked to clear debris in the search for survivors.
Unfortunately, only a handful of people were rescued. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, photographer George Flo of our sister newspaper The Ridgewood Times made repeated trips to the World Trade Center site to photograph the rescue process as it was underway.