"[This book] embodies the Buddhist wisdom about change, life, and the
world more than anything written after the events of that day."
Robert Stone

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February 12, 2010


This week ABC News, through a Freedom of Information Act request, retrieved and disseminated astounding new aerial photographs of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, taken by NYPD Detective Greg Semendinger while perched in a would-be rescue helicopter that day.

Det. Greg Semendinger/NYC Police Aviation Unit

The images are chilling in their vivid, step-by-step detail, and in the eerily omniscient birds’-eye perspective from which they capture the enormity of the footprint of death and devastation. Yet they are not, in and of themselves, unique. The NYPD actually put out a book in 2002 called Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001, with images by various police photographers, including Semendinger and Detective David Fitzpatrick, whose ordeal on that harrowing day is recounted on pages 51-52 of Watching the World Change.

The significant point, however, is that we must continue to see these images, afresh and repeatedly - because our memories fade, our resolve wavers, our priorities shift. We forget just how abhorrent and monstrous these acts were. We forget how many lives were taken in the course of two ungodly hours.

Moreover, there are so many young people who have come of age since 9/11 who have no literal sense of what the attacks looked like and how the assault and its aftermath tangibly relate to their lives in 2010. It is for the teens and 20-somethings, most of all, that we need to show these scenes yet again.

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