My work day commute was from Brooklyn to 23rd street and then a walk of several blocks. I would often shorten my walk by traveling through a local park. Madison Park had several entrances and I would enter at 5th avenue and 23rd street.
As I exited this serene Park at Madison Avenue and 26th street I could hear a loud roaring engine flying very low overhead. I once served in an aviation unit in the military and realized that this could not have been a normal flight plan. So I stood in amazement and realized that this plane had just missed the top of our company building. Then I continued on in a state of confusion, until I reached my work environment. Within minutes someone informed us, that a plane had hit a World Trade Center building.
This news began to make sense of my earlier confusion. Now a second plane had repeated the same act as the first. It was clear that we were under attack. To this very day I feel that the first plane was flying so low, that I could have hit it with a brick!
In order to clear my head from this historic morning of events, I decided to get some air. As I took this short walk, I looked downtown Manhattan. There were still two World Center buildings standing and both were ablaze.
All of a sudden, in front of my eyes began the downfall of one of the buildings. This building pancaked down in a systematic format and left all New Yorkers horrified. Later that morning I could see those that survived, streaming past our company building. Most of these people were covered in white debris as they headed uptown.
Several months later, I moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island. This move was a greater distance from Manhattan, with a more demanding commute to work. I moved to a high rise building on the 18th floor.
My apartment was considered the Penthouse because of its unique view of Manhattan. Yes it was a beautiful panoramic view of New York City and the Hudson River.
This is now September 11, 2002 and the city is still overwhelmed because of this horrific attack. To commemorate the fallen and injured, some agency decided to salute the city with “Tribute Lights”.
After traveling home from work on the train, ferry boat with coast guard escort and a city bus. Later that night it was refreshing to walk on onto my Terrace, to span New Jersey and Manhattan.
To my amazement I saw the “Tribute Lights”, with an angelic image. It appeared to have created a place for us to receive some peace. This angelic image now reminds us of hate, instead of love.
– Ronald Washington
Additionally Mr. Washington received the below correspondence and honor from this beautiful image.
Thank you so much for sending me the mouse pad with your unique and beautiful photograph on it! I truly appreciate your outreach to the 9/11 Memorial and for supporting our developing efforts.
I think your image would be perfect for our “Make History” initiative, accessible by way of our website here: http://makehistory.national911memorial.org/. “Make History” enables individuals to submit images; video and personal stories that will eventually become a permanent digital archive and help build a web-based interactive mapped timeline of September 11th and its aftermath.
It would be a great honor to have your photograph become a part of this project! Please let me know your thoughts, once you’ve had a chance to click through some of the posted images.
Until then, I look forward to continuing our dialogue and thank-you again for your kind donation and recognition of our efforts here at the Memorial!
Alexandra Drakakis | Curatorial Assistant | National September 11 Memorial Museum
1 Liberty Plaza, 20th Fl. | New York, NY 10006 | 212.312.8858 | email@example.com