Articles / A Nation Under Judgment

Tower of Babel page (Genesis 11) found at Ground Zero

                                   Recovery Operation Something Photographer Gary Suson Will Never Forget


The photographer (his story below), had no idea what he really found. A message of hope? More like a message of warning and chastisement. Children of the Living God, do you recognize a day of visitation and the anger of the Lord of Hosts?

Help us, Jesus, to recognise and repent on our day of visitation.

Psalm 127:

1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.


Aired May 30, 2002


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We are less than an hour now from the formal closing ceremony at Ground Zero. The recovery operation is something photographer Gary Suson will never forget. He spent months documenting the grim task and the personal stories behind it. And this morning, he is sharing some of his powerful images from an effort that stretched man and machine to the limit.

GARY SUSON: I began chronicling the early days of ground zero in September, because artist can't go out to the hole and dig. Artist do what they do best. They contribute through their emotional talents, and so like any artist, I wanted to contribute. I just wanted to tell the story of 9-11, but at the same time, I was extremely upset. I was really -- I was very distraught. So I kind of buried myself in the camera. And it was a nice place to hide for a while, you know, to try and disappear.

I've been shooting photography since age 13. Originally what I loved shooting were people. I loved capturing emotion in people. And I got down in to that hole, it was like a hotbed of human emotion, pain, brotherhood, togetherness, and people working together with a common goal to bring people home. I respect the firemen more than they will ever know.

Imagine going down there every day and raking through the mud and the dirt, looking for any sign of your loved one. There was a really cold night in January when I saw these two firemen digging. They were all alone, and I said to them aren't you going to go do dinner, and they said no, we're looking for our brother. A New York city firemen showed up at ground zero, and it just so happened that his son-in-law is a New York City police officer, and he approached the son-in-law and he said, "Are they making any recoveries today?" He said, actually, I think we have your son. And he marched his son out along with son-in-law. Very emotional moment.

What's great about the guys, the police and the firemen, is they never forget, they never forget where they are. And they are very gentle and sensitive to what they are doing.

This firemen could have sat in the comfortable mud, but he maze La-Z-Boy recliner out of the different wires, and it captures to me the humbleness of the firemen. It was early morning, about 7:00 in the morning, and I saw Chief Ritchie (ph) standing on a ridge overlooking ground zero, and I knew that obviously he was looking for his son. The irony to this photograph is that three weeks after this photograph, they found his son, and they found his son directly underneath where he's standing in the photograph.

A lot of the things that I saw down at ground zero took my breath away. They were symbolic things. A plug-in clock, which was stuck at 10:02 and 14 seconds, which is when the very first tower came down. It upset me. It was emotional to see it, I because so much life stopped at 10:02 and 14 seconds.

I was walking in the path controllers room. The room was completely destroyed. But there was a calendar on the floor, and it said, "Today is Tuesday, September 11th. I saw a lot of things that I didn't -- that bothered me, and I was considering packing it in.

So it was right around then that I found this Bible page in the rubble. And I took a picture of it. So the next day I got the proofs back and I just lost it, because the verse was Genesis 11, the tower of Babylon. I looked at the symbolism of the 11 and the tower, and I took that as a positive message and a positive sign that there's a higher power, God was watching down on both the people when they passed away.