I shot this at about 9:00 in the evening on August 17, 2001 (a Thursday). Little did I know that this would be 3 weeks before 9/11. Back then the Pentagon and World Trade Center were ordinary places where thousands of workers reported to make their living. Even in the “pre-9/11” era security was tight. I was actually stopped by the Capitol police because I was on a tripod on a part of the capitol grounds which you could not photograph without a license after hours. During the day, nobody cares who photographs what. The reason for having licenses at night? Members of the press are there at all hours of the night and they want to keep order. After telling them I had no license, they kindly gave me a ride on their golf cart to their office nearby and issued me the proper license. Since I was not a member of the press, it expired in 72 hours. (Too bad I didn’t keep it)
I have aired this photo before, but never scanned at this resolution or edited this well.
Look closely at the flag. You will notice it is at half mast.
For years and years, I’ve always wondered why the flag was at half-mast on this date. Given that 9/11 wasn’t for another few weeks and at the time, there really wasn’t much going on in terms of headlines. In these modern times, I went where everybody goes when they want to figure stuff out fast – Wikipedia. Who knew you could find a list of members of Congress that died in office on any given date? As it turns out, the flags at the Capitol were lowered due to the death of Senator Floyd Spence (R-NC) one day prior on August 16. It’s hard to believe that it took nearly two decades to figure that out. Actually, it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two decades. Those firefighters, police officers, paramedics, members of our military, bystanders and workers of every trade imaginable that lost their lives on that day, those that survived and eventually succumbed to lung cancer in New York City, and those still living today will never be forgotten. Shoot photos, not each other.