September 12, 2009


Platt 9:11:09.jpg

No ground zero, no mourners, no politicians, no flowers. It’s an unorthodox offering from Getty photographer Spencer Platt marking the 9/11 anniversary. And yet, I find it quite telling.

In the days and weeks after 9/11, an oft-repeated question had to do with how long, and even whether “the events” might cross from wound to scar. Maybe it’s the one more year. Maybe it’s the fact that, with the passing of the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime, the attacks have been freed from political bondage.

Whatever it is, yesterday did feel to me like something had shifted.

Studying the picture, there’s the sense of the policeman, a block from Ground Zero, as a ghost “first responder” finally removing the caution tape. There is the feeling, in the bustle, that people moved on –but, in the person of the guy carrying the white bag, looking in the direction of where the towers stood, never having forgotten. And then, there’s the red-and-white umbrella, not just reminding us what the attacks did for the mileage of the American flag, but also perfectly recollecting in this commercial space that patriotic admonition: “go shopping.”

(image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images. caption: A New York City Police Officer controls traffic on Broadway a block from Ground Zero on the on the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2009 in New York, New York. Hundreds of people gathered in pouring rain and wind to commemorate the times when hijacked planes hit the Trade Center’s two main towers killing 2,993 people)

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Michael Shaw
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