Monthly Archives: September 2016

15 Years Later: Remembering 9-11 Through A Lighthouse Image

Allan Wood | September 11, 2016 | COMMENTS:Comments Closed

Nubble Lighthouse photographed a couple hours after 9-11

Nubble Lighthouse photographed a couple hours after 9-11

15 Years Later: Remembering 9-11 Through A Lighthouse Image

Many of us remember that day 15 years ago and what we were doing as it has profoundly touched our lives. I remember teaching at a local college that morning and had made plans after class the day before to take photos of a special high tide at my favorite lighthouse, Nubble light, in York, Maine. You see, there had been an ocean storm about hundreds of miles out at sea and was stirring up some wild surf for high tide. Strangely, many of us have recently had the same experience on the east coast with Hurricane Hermine a few days ago.

I came back from class and shortly found myself barraged with emails from colleagues to check the news regarding the two planes that had crashed into the towers. The visuals caught on the news that we all saw were unbelievable, knowing that lives had been lost, but not knowing at that point the future events that would unfold later as the towers collapsed. I decided that I needed to go to the lighthouse.

I arrived at Nubble lighthouse about a couple hours after the planes had crashed into the towers and noticed the flag had already been ordered at half-mast for victims of the disaster. No one else was around (which in itself was strange) and it was a warm sunny day. Technically the lighting was lousy as it was near noon, but I didn’t care as the surf was crashing all around me. There was a sense of danger as I set up to take some images close to the shore while walking along slippery rocks, but the for all the movement around me, the lighthouse stood strong as our nation’s protector with the flag still visible. It was giving me a sense of peace in appreciating the beauty around.

The image I found involved a softness of the waves crashing in the foreground with the sharp clarity of the lighthouse in the background. The lighthouse became a sign of perseverance, resilience, strength, and protection. The image is nothing fancy, but it helped me to grieve, where I felt helpless to the incident, as many of us did that day. I stayed at the lighthouse for hours, just staring out at the ocean’s churning waters, and observing the lighthouse. I found myself praying for the victims at times.

I keep a print of it on my wall in my office at home, with an inscription on the bottom that reads “Remember 9-11.” A gentle reminder to never give up and remain steadfast.

We all have different ways of how we dealt with the tragedy of September 11, 2001, this is mine and I simply wanted to share this image and my simple story.

Mural at NH firehouse parking lot, honoring the fallen.

Mural at NH firehouse parking lot, honoring the fallen. Taken 9-11-16

I live in near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hundreds of miles from where the events occurred, but most everyday I pass by one of our firehouses where a mural was created in memory of those firefighters and other victims of the tragedy who lost their lives that day in New York, the Pentagon, and on a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania where heroes of Flight 93 thwarted an attempt to crash into the Capital building. I took a simple shot on this 15th anniversary of 9-11. We all know these same acts of appreciation and gratitude are depicted all over our country in neighborhoods, towns, and cities, and are consistent reminders of those that gave their lives, and will never be forgotten. We are a more secure and stronger country since the event, and the cost of our freedoms we hold so dear will always have a price.

Give of yourself to benefit others, hug those you love, shake hands with those around you and accept them for their differences, and thank those firefighters and policemen and women who sacrifice their lives each day for our local security. Thank those in the armed services at home and abroad, and above all, thank those families who provide their support in sending their loved ones in harm’s way to preserve our freedom.

God bless America and God bless us all!

Allan Wood



Category: Lighthouses, Rescues TAG: