On the Day Before Everything Changed

The next time I saw these buildings with my own eyes again, after this photo, is when our plane was finally given permission to fly out of Minneapolis, some three days after the attack. In our approach to Newark, we passed over the smoking pit of Ground Zero.

This photograph was taken by a Canadian — a final view of the World Trade Center and its immediate neighborhood, on September 10, 2001. It’s the final sunset on the consequential buildings in a neighborhood where I formerly had worked for years — before Everything Changed. At around the general hour and minute this photo was being taken, I was stuffing my bag in Korea and getting on a plane that very same day, destined for arrival at New York JFK on September 11. The great Boep Jeong Sunim would be giving talks at Bul Kwang Sah Temple, and he would fly on the day after me. I was going one day ahead as an “advance team”, intentionally not traveling together with him so as to not create distraction from his presence as he arrives alone.

But none of it was to be. Our own plane was ordered down over Minneapolis and we were bused to a hotel and I lived in CNN with room service and an icy six-pack of Sam Adams Dark at-a-go.

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