News & Politics

Scenes from Outside the 9/11 Memorial



A lot of the talk during the lead-up to the sixth anniversary of 9/11 seemed to be about moving on and post-9/11 fatigue, but when you meet people mourning at Ground Zero, the wounds still seem so fresh. Natalia Sanchez, right, was 11 and Ana Sanchez, 7, when their uncle Alejandro Castano died in the Second Tower. Castano, an immigrant from Colombia, wasn’t supposed to be there. He was helping a friend make a delivery to the World Trade Center.

Scores of folks who believe 9/11 was an inside job stood vigil outside the Path train station on Church Street, videotaping themselves, and proselytizing to anyone who would listen.

Just a few yards away from the “Investigate 9/11” folks, a woman, wearing a flight attendants uniform, turned her face toward the construction fence to hide her tears.

In a powerful and touching display, these three women— triplets or at the least sisters—traced the path of sorrow from 9/11 to the present day: the office worker covered in dust, the soldier, the Iraqi woman.

Each woman has the number of casualties— of the World Trade Center attack, of U.S. GIs, and of Iraqis— written on her forehead.

Sammy Vasquez, a Korean War combat veteran, realizes that he bears a strong resemblance to President George W. Bush. “I don’t like the man,” says the Bronx resident.

Joe Piazza, a retired OTB manager from Staten Island, says he dressed like this every day— not just on anniversaries— so that people won’t forget about 9/11. And what about his Flavor-Flav clock? “I made it myself,” says the 78-year-old.

Tourists pose for pictures outside of Ground Zero as the names of the dead—they were up to the letter P—are read aloud by first responders.

This man listens to the names in silence.

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