Carol M. Highsmith visits the World Trade Center site in New York City
Hi, I'm Carol Highsmith and I will be traveling all over America documenting our country on high-resolution digital cameras so that the images can be donated copyright-free to the Library of Congress. Connie Doebele will be capturing America's stories with her video camera. We will be blogging constantly and hope you will join us as we capture America during our moment in time.
Recently, I visited the World Trade Center site. I have tried to travel to New York almost every year since they started erecting the new World Trade Center there.
Two months before 9/11, I was lucky enough to have a clear day as I flew in a helicopter over New York Harbor. I was able to catch a view of the World Trade Center and surrounding Financial District that was almost perfect. As I look back, I am amazed that I was able to snag such a perfect scene. It is now gone.
As I flew around the water, I continued to load my 4x5 large format aerial camera with film. I used this cumbersome camera so that I could capture this experience on large sheets of film. Digital photography was not far enough along at the time I took these images to use that technology. I took about 50 views, but these are two of the best.
I still marvel at the beautiful scene of New York so perfectly laid out surrounded with peaceful water and just a boat or two in the water. It was a memorable experience. When 9/11 arrived, the morning was just as calm with a brilliant blue sky and mild winds making the day seem like a perfect lunchtime in the park day. Then our world turned upside down and America has never been the same.
I never know when I take an image if the shot I capture will change over time. I do know that, because I am donating my images copyright-free to the Library of Congress, there will be many changes in America long after I am gone from this earth.
Because of that, I continue to venture up to the World Trade Center site to record the rebuilding of it. I stay in a hotel that is directly in front of the site and I can take photographs from a high floor. A few years ago I caught the moon over Ground Zero.
I recently ventured up to New York to record the tall buildings that are beginning to take shape and the memorials where the original World Trade Center buildings stood. I had to stay on the top floor of the hotel to capture this image:
Now, I can look out my window and see where the original buildings stood and remember the day of September 11, 2001 when it seems like we would never recover. But you see we have moved on, but we will never forget the day or all the people that suffered at the whim of extremist who hated us for who we are and what we stand for. They did not understand that America is not only the land of the free, but Americans are also strong, resilient, courageous and love our country.
What a view this is looking out at dusk at what will become the tallest building in New York City. I looked out in awe as I realized what it signified. Not only does it show our capability to rebuild, but it shows that we are willing to construct a magnificent building that will be a great financial center once again, but we will also remember those who lost their lives that fateful day in the exact same place.
Please continue to follow me and Connie Doebele as we travel across America and capture "our moment in time."
All of these images are available for use or will be added soon copyright-free at the Library of Congress Web site: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/