September has always been one of my favourite months, as leaves begin to slowly transform into bright reds and yellows. The need for a jacket and the anticipation of a new season brings finality to summer, but unfortunately for me, and many others, this much-loved time of year was dramatically 20 years ago, last weekend.
Each one of us will remember where we were on that terrifying morning in 2001, but for some of us the loss was closer to home. I vividly remember September the tenth, as I drove to the airport for a flight to Phoenix to meet some friends.
Jet lagged and tired, I spent a few hours photographing the countryside, and decided to turn in early. I woke up around 5:30 (jet lag will do that to you), turned the TV on, and saw the now immortalized image of the World Trade Centre with smoke rising from it. Suddenly, directly before my eyes, I watched as a plane, a jetliner, crashed into the second tower.
I was stunned, and slowly began to realize the impact of the event. One of the people I was to meet in Phoenix, worked in the Trade Centre along with another good friend, Bernard from Toronto. I tried to telephone, but nothing in New York was working. I showered and dressed, and made my way to the lobby for further news.
The hotel was nearly empty and when I realized all air traffic had been halted and planes in the air rerouted back to their points of origin, I knew it would be a much different trip than what I had anticipated. I met two people from South Africa and Chile. We chatted about the only topic in anyone's mind that day. Not since the first invasion of Iraq, had CNN covered a live news event of this magnitude. The sensationalism and repetitiveness was depressing.
No one else would arrive that day and, and my two new friends and myself, along with Mike Tyson who was also staying there, would be the only guests.