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Standing Tall


Pearl Harbor.  John F. Kennedy Assassination.  You may or not remember where you were on those tragic days depending upon your age.

9/11/2001:  You surely remember where you were 10 years ago today when those cowardly muslim terrorists crashed airplanes into these two most beautiful of buildings massacring 3,000 people.

I shot this image from the top of the Empire State Building November 26, 1996.  How lucky I am to have taken it.  I travel a lot.  By September 11, 2001 I was completely accustomed to seeing these behemoths at the tip of Manhattan.  Every time I took off for or returned home from a trip the Towers stood tall as my plane taxied to take-off or approached for landing as if to say ‘bon voyage’ or ‘welcome home’ Chris.  The comfort of being home really came over me like a calmness every time I looked out the airplane window when landing seeing these ‘Twins’ standing tall, standing guard, over New York City.  I knew I was home.  And I was safe.  So I thought.

I was in Dayton, Ohio the morning of September 11th.  I was at a sales meeting and had a break at 8:30am.  I was in the cafeteria getting a drink and snack and watching the news for a bit.  I sat for a few minutes when suddenly all hell broke loose and the news cut to the image of a hole and a smoking north Tower caused by the crash of American Airlines flight 11 from Boston at 8:46am.

Holy Shit, I thought.  What was I witnessing?  An accident?   Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  In utter disbelief I watched United Airlines flight 175 smash into the south Tower at 9:03am.  Complete shock.  Complete incomprehension.  Complete sadness. Complete anxiousness.  Complete need to get back to NY to my family.

Air travel goes on lockdown.  Our company chairman puts out an edict that people are to stay wherever they are located and not travel.  “F” that.  I am from NY.  I am going home.  My colleague and dear friend, Tommy LaGrega, jumped into the rental car he had and drove 15 hours from Dayton, OH to NY to get home to our families.  Lucky to be with them.  Unlike those 3,000 men and women and children who are no longer with us today.

I have a friend from England who I made a dinner reservation for at Window’s On The World for September 19, 2001.  She would never get to experience what we did up on the top of the world.  What the people that worked there experienced every day.

I knew people who worked in the Towers and died.  I know people who worked in the Towers and escaped.  Their stories are no less unbelievable than the sight of the airplanes crashing into the Towers, let alone their crumbling down.

God bless America.  God bless the families of the victims.  And God help those who planned, committed and still love the sight of this tragedy.  We will never forget.  We will never give up.  We never lose. We always win.

This post is dedicated to the families and those who died that fateful day at Ground Zero, to the fallen heroes of the NYFD (343), the NYPD (23), the PAPD (37), the men and women who perished at the Pentagon (184) when flight 77 hit the building, and those bravest of passengers on flight 93  (40) who fought ’til the end giving their lives so as to save others from a similar fate with their crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania starting with Todd Beamer’s ‘Let’s Roll’.  And to the men and women who survived that morning….and to our men and women in uniform, if who not for their commitment to the protection of American liberties, I, we, would not have the ability to take our pictures and post our blogs and travel around this country and world doing what we do.



18 Responses to “Standing Tall”

  1. Steve Beal says:

    Chris, it is so good to finally see your photoblog up and I am proud to be the first comment on your new awesome site. You are an incredible writer as well as a photographer like I have said many times on my blog, the world is in for a treat. Love ya kid, sickest post ever,

  2. […] see 9/11 from the perspective of a New Yorker, check out the post by my good friend, Chris Robins. Chris is a New Yorker who’s reaction to 9/11 makes me proud. Well worth […]

  3. Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris. Love the post. Love the shot.

  4. Bob Lussier says:

    This is a powerful image made more-so through your writing. A memorable way to start a Blog. Nicely done.

  5. Beautiful words and image Chris. Wonderful tribute to those who lost their lives… Congrats on the blog!

  6. Welcome to blogging, Chris. You chose a appropriately powerful and meaningful day to begin it and, true to form, you share an equally powerful post.

    I remember seeing the Twin Towers looming in the distance from my Brooklyn porch all my life. We never realize what we have until it’s gone but it is just as important to remember. Well done.

    • Chris Robins says:

      thanks b. i am just getting started and the hang of it. you, along with beal & lussier, are instrumental in my development, thanks for all the tips when we shoot, and for being a new friend. vegas baby. vegas.

  7. Dramatic, heart-wrenching image. Powerful, personal words. Great to see the advent of your blog and looking forward to more images from New York and from your travels away from home.

  8. Heath O'Fee says:

    Damn, dude. Off to an amazing start with this post. Welcome to the world of blogging – I look forward to keeping up with you here!

  9. Griffin Robins says:

    hey dad i just wanted to say love the pic. even though its in my room. this was such a tragic event and what we got out of it was a more powerful and united nation.

  10. Edith Levy says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. My heart goes out to all that lost a loved one that day. I’m a Canadian. I have friends and family in New York and I love that city. The events of that day will be etched in my mind forever.

  11. Jacques says:

    Hey Chris. Great site and moving first post! Look forward to keeping up with you and your new blog. Drive on!


  12. Glad your site is up and running. What a great way to start!

  13. Wow. It’s hard to hard to choose whether to congratulate on starting the blog or praising such a strong post. So I guess I just did both.

  14. dnad says:

    Chris, you speak to and with me about the power of the towers. I saw them from Forest Hills growing up, driving into Manhattan via the Midtown Tunnel; as a messenger dropping off documents at steamship lines, getting off the E train, and Windows on the World with my beloved father who showed me the best of NY always. Your picture is etched in my brain and my heart and means the world to NYers all over. I remember the stature and what the towers represented. Your pictures and words brought it all back to me and it’s special today and always. Peace brother – Dnad

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