(2010 Tribute Lights.)

It’s been ten years, and the events of September 11 still seem surreal. I heard about it on the radio while driving to work (at a coffee shop). We kept the radio on in the back room and listened in snippets. The stream of customers continued almost as normal, and for awhile it was busy enough that I forgot what was going on.

Soon enough, it was decided to close the store, so I went home and watched horrific things happen on the television screen, over and over. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. What got me most was the tiny specks in the air that were people. After the reels started repeating, I had to turn it off.

I visited New York City for the first time in June 2002.  The banners were still covering the Trinity Church and the missing posters were still plastering the walls of the subway stations. We saw some firefighters near Trinity and they posed for a photo for me, and even let us climb into their truck with a firehelmet.

I truly can’t imagine what it was like to be in the city when all this happened. Just can’t wrap my mind around it; it hardly seems real. But it was. What an awful day.

Read through the stories and photos on Life.com for the experiences of photographers around the city.