On 9/19/2001, I completed the above image and I wrote the following tex. Note that the headstone with the number 6000 on it was because at the time we thought there might be that many casualties.
On Tueday, 9/11/2001, terrorism by a few was countered by heroism by many. Who are these courageous, selfless people who treat strangers as if they were kin? How have they managed to rewire their brains so they can run into burning buildings while others are running out?
Last week, while in a state of heightened visual acuity, I noticed that when a firefighter was pulled from the wreckage, the first thing he did was put on his helmet. I asked my friend Keith, a firefighter, about this. He explained that the helmets are more than protection and an emblem of the job. He said they help obscure individuality. Fire fighters want to remain anonymous. Like the Lone Ranger.
Although they may have desired anonymity, like the mythological Greek heroes who were gods walking among mortals, more than 300 firefighters achieved immortality, and as a result will always be remembered.
I began thinking about a tribute to firefighters on July 4, 2000 when I took the picture of Keith and his fire truck. He invited me to ride shotgun in the parade! I even got to honk the horn and fire up the siren. A kid's dream come true. I have often lamented that athletes and actors make so much more than firefighters and I have always wondered what allows them to risk death for strangers and how I could pay tribute to them as an artist.
Then when Keith and I discussed the rescue efforts in New York and he told me about the helmets, I knew how to use my photo of him as a tribute. I worked for a week on the image above. Then realized I just couldn't sell it at $250, my list price, and pocket the profits. That would be capitalizing on death and destruction. So I have arrived at the following solution.
Priced at $100, $60 will go to the IAFF Disaster Relief Fund
In order to make this print more affordable and raise funds for a very worthwhile cause, I have set the price at $100. In addition, for every print ordered, I will donate $60 to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). This money will go directly to the families of the fallen firefighters and emergency medical service personnel in New York. For more information about the fund, go to http://daily.iaff.org/fund.htm. For info about other ways to help, go to http://www.libertyunites.org.
Title: 911 - Homage to Heroes
First released for sale: 9/19/01
Size. 14 x 13" on 13 x 19 paper. Larger sizes available on request.