This photo was taken last night at Ideal Beach in Middletown, NJ. Obviously yesterday was September 11th, 2012 and the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks in New York City. Although never directly affected, being residents of the state of New Jersey, the attacks and their memory will always be a part of our lives. What you’re seeing in the photo is the “Tribute in Light” from the site of Ground Zero.
Let me give you some direct context to go with this photo. Megan and I were driving around on our way back from Target when we noticed the light in the distance to the north. All we could see was a beam extending above the tree line. We knew that just across Route 36 we could easily get to the bay shore for a clear view of New York and the memorial. I guess that makes sense, but what we didn’t realize was just how good the view would be and how clear of a night it was. One of the people you see in the photo above was overheard as saying “every year I come down here to take a look and it has never been this clear.”
While driving up we figured we would just hop out of the car, take a look and go home. After all, it was a week night and the beach was probably (technically) closed. It turns out there were a bunch of other people there doing the same thing. Taking pictures, talking and there was even one guy who lit and placed a candle by the water. Sometimes being young, I forget that there is a sense of togetherness that exists in these situations. I’m not even talking about on a larger level, or the idea that “we were all there.” I’m just talking about the feeling you get when you realize that you are a part of a shared experience on a very small, local level. Here we are going to the beach to see what we can see, and there are a handful of other people who had the same idea. And they probably acted on it the same way we did. No one made a scene or a big deal. Everyone had an understanding that we were all there for the same reason. And that’s a good feeling.