Today marks 13 years since the tragic occurrence of 9/11. Getty Images staff photographer, Andrew Burton covered the commemoration events at the site of the World Trade Center and curated some of the most touching moments.
Andrew shares his thoughts on the commemorations.
As a photojournalist based in New York, I frequently find myself covering assignments in and around the World Trade Center. I’ve covered joyous events, such as the opening of new Four World Trade Center, and the topping out of One World Trade Center, and I’ve covered tragic events, including the placement of human remains inside the September 11 Museum. This morning I found myself working as a “pool” photographer – one of six photographers allowed in and around the North and South water fall pools where the Twin Towers stood and tasked with capturing the day’s events, during the ceremony marking the thirteen anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
The task was a somber, sobering experience. As a photojournalist my job was to witness and capture the scene and emotions at hand. Yet I was also tasked with being respectful of those mourning and honoring those that passed away. As with many assignments, I tried to be as considerate and cautious as possible, while still aiming to make impactful photographs that told the story.
Like so many assignments prior to this one, I was once again amazed at people’s willingness to open up to me and allow me to photograph them as they went through the day. I was moved by the people I met and their stories, such as Sam Pulia, a former policeman in Westerchester, IL, who is now the town’s mayor and lost his cousin, a fire fighter, on 9/11. Or Joe Irizarry, who I photographed as he consoled his wife, Eileen Esquilin, who lost her brother. I was also moved by images of hope, like Kelly Koopmann, an EMS worker who comes from a long line of firemen: I photographed her playing with her 15-month-old daughter, along side her entire family, as they mourned lost friends.
Gray clouds filled the sky overhead as all 2,996 names of those lost were read out loud. And while many people mourned, I sensed a new hope that I hadn’t seen in 9-11 anniversaries past. New buildings are being built in the tower’s place, the September 11 Museum has opened up, and the North and South Pool are finally free and open to the public. By the time the ceremony had finished around 12:30 p.m, the sun was starting to peak through the clouds, revealing a new, beautiful day.View all of the 9/11 commemorations in New York City on Getty Images