Sunday, June 09, 2002

Who is Gary Suson?

A few days ago, I plugged September Eleven dot Net, a site designed by Mr. Gary Suson. It's a beautiful site and an elegant tribute to the victims of 09-11-2002. Anyways, I had thought that perhaps Mr. Suson was a fireman (I admit, I didn't view the entire site, for in the site lies the answer) and had asked if this was correct. A few days ago, Mr. Suson wrote me the following letter, I thought I'd share it:

Hi - it's Gary Suson. I saw your comments and wanted to thank you on your kind words on my work at Ground Zero and the SeptemberEleven.net website. To answer your question - I am not an active firefighter - but am the Official Archive Photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefighters Association. I have only just started releasing my images from 6 months of shootiong. There were only 2 photographers allowed full access into the hole - Joel Meyerowitz who shot the ever changing architecture - and Me, who chronicled the human side and emotions down in the hole. I am also the only photographer allowed to walk in the firemans honor guard. I have a book coming out in the Fall. I hope you will look for it. Take care, thanks again and God Bless...

Gary Suson

First, I'd like to thank Mr. Suson for setting me straight and for the additional information. Second, I'd once again like to make know my appreciation for the site. Even though I live in Oklahoma, I was a born and bred New Yorker. I grew up in Queens, not more than 15 minutes from the WTC. From my aunt and uncles house you used to be able to see the Towers. My mother remembers the Towers going up. Matter of fact, she was a teller in a bank in the financial district and she has always talked about how the workers building the Towers would come in and cash/deposit their paychecks with her.

When things like this happen, years later people always ask "Do you know where you were when it happened?" Well, there will be no forgetting where I was, nor I imagine will I forget what I was feeling. Taking a look at those pictures, especially the earliest ones in Mr. Suson's sequence (the collapses) still give me the gut-wrenching feeling I felt on that day when it first happened. I remember my wife waking me up and telling me one of the World Trade Towers was burning and I remember debating whether I should get up or not. I had remembered that the Empire State Building had been hit by a plane once and it had stood, and I figured it was just an accident. However, get up I did (if you knew me you'd know what kind of chore that was in and of itself!) and I remember the bewilderment of the first few minutes when I tried to gauge just how big the hole was (given that the building itself was roughly 1/10 of a mile in width) and what sort of plane could have done such damage.

And then I remember the horror as I saw, live, the second plane ram into the other tower and knowing instantly that something evil was afoot but hoping that it was just a freak accident with a lookie-loo pilot straying too close. To this day I cry when I think about it. I will never, ever forget. How could you?

Anyways, I think Mr. Suson's site is tastefully done. I hope his project reaps a bountiful harvest for the UFA Widows & Children's Fund and I hope he never has to do anything like this ever again.

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