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South Texas Living

The Twin Towers: a fresh perspective

The Twin Towers: a fresh perspective
This night shot of the towers reflecting off the waters of the Hudson River was taken from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, February 1973, and shows the structure completed, but some of the top floors still under construction.

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Special to WCN
September 11, 2013

Story and photos By Sid Burns

Well, it was 12 years ago that the Twin Towers in New York City came down, Sept. 11, 2001.

That definitely was a day to remember; some 3,000 souls went with the towers. Most of us will never forget it. It’s one of those events that burns that day into one’s memory banks forever; you will be doing something, see something, maybe even smell something, and immediately the “picture” will pop up in your mind.

That picture will be there forever.

I was not there that day, but like many people, I had turned on the television to get the morning news and the very first thing I saw was an airplane heading straight into the south tower. And again, like many, I thought it was a movie, until the announcer came on and started describing what was actually happening.

Now this particular situation had meaning to me. As a former United Press International photographer, I had covered a number of assignments in the tower restaurant. At one point in time, I had started taking pictures of the towers as they were being built. I considered them to be a photographic challenge, since all they were, were two square buildings rising 1,000-plus feet into the air -- no curves, no angles, just straight lines.

From that time, every time I was in the area or on an aerial assignment, I would explore all the possibilities to come up with a photo that was different and interesting. My “challenge” started in the early 1970s and ended in the early 1980s.

One of the last things I did was take pictures of the first group of people to go to the top of the south tower and show the magnificient view. We could see the north tower, with all of its communications paraphernalia. Looking beyond the tower, you could see the George Washington Bridge and beyond. I would estimate that we could see 25 miles or more from the top of the tower.

I am a “purist” photographer; I believe in using what is there, what is natural, and definitely not using any kind of manipulation to enhance a photo as you can do with digital photography.

And now for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

The new tower is completed on the outside and it does have some angles. I have not had the opportunity to take pictures of it as yet, but I intend to do that so I can add it to my book, Gone But Not Forgotten. This will complete the story of the World Trade Center, Twin Towers, the final chapter.

Sid Birns was a photographer with United Press International in New York City for 18 years. Now semi-retired, he splits his time between Florida and Montreal.

Your Opinions and Comments

Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
October 21, 2015 9:28am
Deci, AMEN!, Deci.

New Guy  
Wilson County  
October 20, 2015 9:47pm
4th, read his Bush did what NO great statesman should do, lower himself down to Trump and Cruz level of the scum of the Earth. He should have kept his head buried in the sand like normal.

Deci Murphy  
Floresville, TX  
October 20, 2015 5:13pm
Why the hell don't people (politicians and bloggers) stop blaming, blaming and start doing something constructive - this country is going down the tubes and there are more people (according to the blog comments in the WCN) interested ... More ›

4th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Spriungs  
October 20, 2015 3:36pm
You're right "new guy", I do not like people making false allegations against a great patriot, George W Bush. And, Trump DID NOT blame GWB for 911. He said that because of his immigration plan, the terrorists ... More ›

Elaine K.  
October 20, 2015 9:34am
If Bush is attacking, it's probably because of headlines such as this: POLL: TRUMP INCREASES LEAD; BUSH FADES (

Elaine K.  
October 20, 2015 9:30am
I have not heard Bush slamming Cruz, but it is not surprising. The Washington establishment does not know how to get a handle on these candidates that are outside their circle. I admire Cruz.

New Guy  
Wilson County  
October 20, 2015 9:23am
Elaine: I did and I agree with NYP. You side with right wing news companies all the time, so I think NYP got it right. What about Bush slamming Cruz now?

Elaine K.  
October 19, 2015 9:35pm
New Guy, those are the words of NYP. Better to listen to Trump's word for yourself and then decide.

New Guy  
Wilson County  
October 19, 2015 6:20pm
From the NYP "Donald Trump on Friday suggested that former President George W. Bush was partly to blame for the 9/11 attacks."

Senior Citizen  
Wilson County  
October 19, 2015 9:42am
New Guy likes to twist words ... that is not what Trump said.

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