Picture of 2001

This picture, seen to the right, sums up 2001.

Sept. 11, 2001 -- the end of the world as we knew it.

But in the chaos and rubble where the World Trade Center no longer stood, Record photographer Thomas E. Franklin captured an unforgettable image of hope -- three firefighters raising the American flag.

Standing defiantly against the gray and white landscape of devastation, these dust-covered men and the vivid red, white, and blue of Old Glory instantly became a symbol of American patriotism. Franklin's photo of these three heroic rescuers -- Brooklyn-based firefighters Dan McWilliams of Long Island, George Johnson of Rockaway Beach (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2) -- also became a global message that life, and America, would go on.

The photo, which appeared Sept. 12 in The Record, has since graced the pages of many other newspapers as well as national newsmagazines. Network television has repeatedly displayed the photo during its round-the-clock disaster coverage, comparing it to the famous image of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

Franklin, an eight-year veteran of The Record, took the photo late in the afternoon of Sept. 11, after spending hours at the scene. He was walking toward the debris of the World Trade Center when he spotted the firefighters.

"The shot immediately felt important to me," Franklin said. "It said something to me about the strength of the American people and about the courage of all the firefighters who, in the face of this horrible disaster, had a job to do in battling the unimaginable."

News source: N.J. News, The Record

View: A bigger version of the Picture, via "Time, Year in pictures 2001"

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