Friday, September 11, 2020


These are keys from the World Trade Center, they are still colored with the dust of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

There were 40,000 doors in the North and South Towers.

They are keys that were carried on rings next to souvenirs, charms, and car logos in the pockets and purses of people who spent their days in the towers. Sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers who spent their lives there, high above Southern Manhattan. They are keys to doors that no longer exist. Spaces that can only be accessed as memory. It’s probable that many of the owners of these keys didn’t make it down in time. What was once a simple object, used without thought, is now an artifact. These tokens of remembrance were carried with people to family events, first days of school, birthday parties, and even life’s tragedies. They were the symbols of so much achievement and responsibility.

As a course of habit, we each need to know where our keys are. Pockets are patted and purses are checked. At some point the keys in the image were carried everywhere, riding along with their owners, the tenants and, workers of the World Trade Center towers. They were carried until they weren’t.

We were told to Never Forget. Maybe some of us have, even if it’s just a little. The unity we felt in the wake of that day has been squandered, that much has been long forgotten. It’s been 19 long years. For many, it was yesterday. Today is a day to notice the details and relish in the mundane for any of us could lose our keys at any time. Life can change in a single morning, even if the sky is beautiful and the sun is shining, creating a hard and sharp point that splits time into events that happened before and events that happened after.

For Jon

© 2020 John Bulmer Photography + Nor'easter Films