This week, on assignment for the Wellesley Townsman, I photographed a September 11 Memorial Event at the Wellesley Fire Department. And I have to be honest: in the 11 years since September 11th happened, I have never been to a memorial service. I have no idea why; there isn’t really a particular reason. This was my first 9/11 memorial and I was glad to be there.
The service was simple. The Chief of the Wellesey Fire Department spoke, along with the local State Representative, a Wellesley rabbi, and a member of the Board of Selectmen, while dozens of police officers, firefighters, veterans and community residents listened. It was solemn and mournful; short and sweet. More than a decade after the events of 9/11 rocked the country, Wellesley held its service quietly and without fanfare simply to make sure that people remember, to honor the memory of those affected in the attacks.
And we were all affected by the attacks, even if you didn’t lose someone you knew. I was living in Philadelphia at the time, working at my first job out of college. At the time that the first plane crashed into the tower, I was on the phone with my boss recounting a community meeting that I had held the night before. I thought she was joking when she said what had happened. It was only minutes later that the second plane crashed and the City of Philadelphia shut down, our office building evacuated. A few co-workers and I watched the news all day in someone’s living room almost in complete silence. I didn’t cry. I didn’t call my parents. I didn’t panic. I got up and went to work the next day and pretended that everything was normal. I was 21 years old, old enough to comprehend what had happened and react maturely. But I see now that I completely shut down. it wasn’t until a few days later, enroute to my family’s home in Connecticut that I fully understood that all of our lives were going to change. It took me two days to react to the attack.
It’s been 11 years and 9/11 is embedded into our country’s memory but for those of us not directly involved, it’s easy to forget the details of the event and move on. I was glad to be at the event on Tuesday because and glad to remember. And I and glad to know that communities like Wellesley come together every year to have a moment of silence and remember the tragedy. It’s important that we all share our 9/11 stories and remember that day, how we each experienced it. Our memories are all different, but they are part of a collective story that needs to be told over and over again.
I’ll share some of my photographs from the event on Tuesday and you can read the article in the Townsman here.