Ground Zero - 9/12/2001 by Richard Earl

Color Photograph -

Ground Zero – 9/12/2001

This photo of me was taken by one of my crew as we were working near the collapse of the South Tower ; sometime in the early afternoon on 9/12/2001
I had the constant feeling that I was part of history ;much like what the veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor must have felt.

My department has one of the most experienced technical rescue teams in the state.We responded to the collapse before noon on 9/11 with a 25 man team. I was sent over at 5:00 am on 9/12 to relieve the commanding officer, fresh rescue crews were to follow in a few hours. I will never forget the trip into Manhattan .I went over alone in a department car. I was the only one the State Police allowed into the entrance of the Holland Tunnel. The approach to the tunnel is about 14 lanes wide , all of which were closed and barricaded by buses from the National Guard . The area was protected by hundreds of soldiers in full battle gear. They moved the buses to let me through. The soldiers stood aside with their automatic weapons ready, their Captain saluted me as I passed.

This was scary, like I was driving into the middle of a science fiction movie. It had an unreal and very surreal feeling to it.

My department worked at Ground Zero from the afternoon of 9/11 until the afternoon of 9/15. I spent about 40 hours working there during this period. By 9/15, NYFD , FEMA, and the National Guard took over the incident and the rescue workers from all the other departments were sent home, and there were thousands of them. I was there on Wednesday night on 9/12 when one of the surviving firefighters was rescued from the debris . A cheer from the rescuers went around the site , and a feeling of hope spread across the devastated landscape.

Dedicated to all those who were lost.

Challenge Winner – First Things Group , Remembering 9/11

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destruction, ground zero, 9 11


  • Mistyarts
    Mistyartsabout 4 years ago

    That’s some story! Devastating time!

  • Hi Misty
    Always good to hear from you. Thanks for commenting

    – Richard Earl

  • Jan Siemucha
    Jan Siemuchaabout 4 years ago

    Hats off to you and your team, that was definitely a day that no American will forget.
    Awesome shot by the way !!!!!!!!

  • Hi Jan
    Nice to meet you. I will never forget those days.Thanks for commenting , i appreciate it greatly

    – Richard Earl

  • Debbie Robbins
    Debbie Robbinsabout 4 years ago

    GOD BLESS YOU!!!! thanks for sharing this. :))))

  • Hi
    Good to hear from you.thank you for your kind words

    – Richard Earl

  • vertigoimages
    vertigoimagesabout 4 years ago

    Thank you. Your first-hand account is both fascinating and chilling.

  • Hi
    Thank for your comments,nice to hear from you

    – Richard Earl

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheepabout 4 years ago

    Amazing capture…excellent photojournalism…and very moving sight. Gena

  • Hi
    Thank you for your comments , they are greatly appreciated.Good to hear from you

    – Richard Earl

  • genez
    genezabout 4 years ago

    Great photo. Very moving story. My brother worked in Manhattan at the time, but he worked a later shift, so he couldn’t get into the city that day due to the attack. God bless you for your hard work and dedication. I hope you had no ill affects from exposure to the particulates in the air during your work.

  • Hi Genez
    Nice to hear from you.Thank you for the comments and the well wishes.

    – Richard Earl

  • BarbL
    BarbLabout 4 years ago

    Wow….what a tale you have to tell. To say “Thank You” for what you did seems weak but the feeling behind it is strong…I am so very thankful that there are people like you who are there when we need you the most….

  • Hi Barbi
    Good to hear from you .Thank you for your kind words,greatly appreciated

    – Richard Earl

  • rocamiadesign
    rocamiadesignalmost 4 years ago

    Congratulations on your Top Ten placement in the Honoring Our Heroes challenge! Please submit this image to the group so that it can be featured. Remember to write which group has featured this in your Artist Description section.

  • Hi
    Good to hear from you , Thanks for the comment and for the feature, I am honored

    – Richard Earl

  • Rene Hales
    Rene Halesalmost 4 years ago

  • Hi
    Thanks for commenting

    – Richard Earl

  • ☼Laughing Bones☾
    ☼Laughing Bones☾almost 4 years ago

    I’ll never forget your story, thank you for that

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