Brooklyn Eagle was first in ideas for 9/11 tribute
In 2001, just a month after 9/11, The Brooklyn Eagle suggested, in print, that a memorial be established immediately to begin remembrance. The Eagle suggested, in a primitive sketch, that two beams of light be projected into the sky from Ground Zero. Reacting early to the need for remembrance, the Eagle staff worked in a building at 30 Henry Street, abutting the Middagh Street firehouse for Engine 205 and Ladder 118. The firehouse suffered inconceivable losses, wiping out more than half of the staff in the building. As thousands of people walked home over Brooklyn Bridge, many found their way to the Eagle office at Middagh and Henry to drop off Polaroid photos they had taken in lower Manhattan, or random items that had fallen from the Towers. Shell-shocked and covered in dust, they were sadly incoherent and somehow thought they should share something with the newspaper office. Many did not seem to want to take anything home except themselves.
“One woman seemed catatonic, as we all felt that day,” remembers one Eagle staffer. “She handed me a Polaroid photo of a human hand that was lying in the dusty street.”
“It was so gruesome,” said the staffer, “and inexplicably tender… she seemed to want to rid herself of the photo, and thought maybe a newspaper could use it to explain what had just happened earlier in the day.” The woman said nothing, but as she turned to leave the Eagle reception area she said “That was the only photo I took… I could not continue.”