post 9/11

Painting by Todd Stone

The twentieth year of 9/11 still hangs in the air. Each year we acknowledge the date, but every time I read something or see something about 9/11, it brings me right back.

I had the pleasure of sitting on the LREI board, our kid’s K-12 school, with Todd Stone. Todd was in his Tribeca studio when the planes hit the towers. The impact it has made on his life and his work has been tremendous. We own a piece of his work made the days after 9/11. It is a photo of a car’s windshield, covered in white soot, and someone had drawn in the ashes, We Will Survive. It still gives me chills each time I look at the piece.

The other night Emily sent Fred and me a piece written by her childhood friend, an LREI kid, who is now the Deputy Managing Editor of the Atlantic. It was the night I was on my way to Todd Stone’s installation of the last twenty years of work.

Emily and Amy were in third grade when the towers were hit. Amy interviewed the third graders, now 20 years older, who went to PS234, an elementary school blocks from the World Trade Center. What those kids saw is unprecedented. Reading about the impact it made on each of them and their reflections brought me back.

I made my way up to the 63rd floor to see Todd. His wife and daughter were there too. Twenty years of work documenting the changing of downtown NYC post 9/11 is powerful. His studio sits in the new tower with epic views of downtown and the waterfront. I imagine each piece he paints is cathartic. Washing that day away yet making sure it stays intact.

Each year we move farther and farther away from the moment that changed the world’s path. I have talked about the day here and there with our kids; after all, they were 10, 8, and 5 when 9/11 happened. I really should talk about it more. Reading Amy’s piece and seeing Todd’s work was undoubtedly reflective, yet it is also uplifting. Life goes on, and as horrible as that day was, we have all grown, gotten older, and that day lives inside us all and always will.