Photography exhibit looks at the World Trade Center before and after 9/11
September 5, 2021 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
By Kathaleen Roberts
September 5, 2021
Iconic symbols of the New York skyline, the World Trade Center gleamed like golden towers in the sunset, then smoked and fell with the devastation of 9/11.
Such was the cycle of life for what had been once the tallest buildings in the world.
Shepard Sherbell photographed a horrified trio of firemen watching the collapse.
The crowd applauded, waved signs of support and gave out water bottles and flowers, echoing the pandemic's spontaneous salutes to first responders. Black bunting draped every firehouse, honoring the firefighters who died.
"Every firehouse was a shrine," Sidney Monroe said.
New Mexico's Eric Draper photographed President George W. Bush on the phone in a Florida classroom when he learned of the attack. Draper was the president's personal photographer.
As Deputy Assistant Dan Bartlett points to news footage of the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush gathers information about the attack Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, from a classroom at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. Eric Draper (Courtesy of Monroe Gallery of Photography)
"He was reading books to a kindergarten class," Sidney Monroe said. "They set up an office in one of the school rooms, then they whisked him out on Air Force One and flew around until they figured out what was going on."
In their own words
As former New Yorkers, 20 years later Sidney and Michelle Monroe still struggle with the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
Their gallery stood nine blocks north of what became Ground Zero. The National Guard cut off the neighborhood, closing their business. Their daughter was 9 years old.
"Our daughter was in school," Sidney Monroe said. "They had a recess period before the school started. They saw the plane flying over their playground."
The school staff rushed the children into some old fallout shelters. Afterward, Japanese school children sent them 1,000 teddy bears.
"Our daughter will never, never be the same," Michelle Monroe said.
The fires were still burning when the gallery reopened.
"You'd look out the window and there would be ash falling," Sidney Monroe said. "It was surreal."
The couple decided to move to Santa Fe because of its status as either the second or third most active art market in the country, depending on the source.
"It's a dreadful, dreadful anniversary, but there were so many people who ran into the mouth of hell," Michelle Monroe said. "We don't do anything that day. We just say, 'Let's get it over with.' I don't think anyone stopped crying for a couple of weeks."
WHAT: "9/11 In Remembrance"
WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe
WHEN: Through Sept. 26
CONTACT: monroegallery.com, 505-992-0800