Everyone who served at the World Trade Center site will have indelible memories. For me, this statue holds particular significance. It took a long time to find a photo. I don't know if this photo was taken days earlier, or days later. Im told the remembrances it displayed evolved with time.
Several days following the attack, I was assigned to the FDNY*EMS paramedic unit stationed at Liberty St and Trinity Place, on a construction site on the edge of Ground Zero. Our assignment was providing standby coverage for Fire, Law Enforcement, EMS and Construction personnel working the pile.
The next 16 hours were difficult - on one hand coming to terms with the images I had only watched from the roadway of the Verrazano Bridge as the first tower collapsed, and then from a pier overlooking New York Harbor where I was assigned the remainder of that day. Numbing views that were repeated over and over on every TV station for the last 6 days.
On the other hand, here I sat in an almost campfire like situation..sharing a log or a paint bucket, passing the time with a volunteer ambulance crew that responded to NYC from distant upstate New York, and The Statue.
The Statue was a survivor of the attack. Dust covered, he sat on the steps, watching over all that had transpired, and now supervising the personnel on the pile. He had been covered head to toe in various EMS, Fire and Police unit patches -pieces of uniforms and a helmet from those that had manned this post before me. For a time I sat beside him, as if he could explain all I was witnessing. But when my tour was done, he remained to console the next crew. The photo on this webpage shows only a small degree of how he appeared that day.
It took years to locate a photo of this image that has remained with me. Even longer to discover his true identity. The Statue, entitled Double Check, was created by J. Seward Johnson II and had been sitting on a park bench in Liberty Plaza Park for 20 years. The park had been undergoing renovation on September 11.
The sculpture was eventually returned to Mr. Johnson, who repaired and returned it to the park. He cast another copy, complete with many of the tributes that had been placed on it by other emergency service personnel. Makeshift Memorial now resides in Liberty State Park, overlooking the WTC site from across the Hudson in New Jersey.