I always say to my students: 'The camera is up here,' and I point to my head,'' said Marie Triller, art teacher, NYSUT member and professional photographer. "Maybe I should also point to my heart."
Triller's newly published collection of photographs, Ten Years: Remembering 9/11, offers a window into the wounded soul of a nation attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I knew no one who died that day. ... But when the towers fell, I was immensely shocked and filled with a sadness I'd never experienced before," Triller writes in the book's introduction.
Every year since the tragedy, she travels to New York City to document the remembrance ceremony.
"Friends would ask me, 'How can you go down there?' and I remember thinking, 'How can you not?'" she writes.
Few are allowed to descend into the pit from which the twin towers of the World Trade Center once erupted to dominate the Manhattan skyline. Triller, instead, photographs the periphery of Ground Zero. Makeshift public memorials. Click. Young people wrapped in U.S. flags. Click. Children wearing FDNY caps. Click. Click. Solemn police, firefighters standing at attention. Click. And in tears. Click. Click. Click.
"Remembering 9/11 became a personal ritual for me; I felt compelled to be witness to every annual ceremony since, where much remains the same," Triller writes. "The four aching moments of silence marking the time between the first crash and the fall of the second tower. The sounds of bagpipes, flutes, violins and voices. The tolling bells. Even the sky, more often than not, has the audacity to be stunningly blue and cloudless, as it was that day."
Triller, a high school art teacher in Albany County's Voorheesville district for the past 22 years, is a member of the Voorheesville Teachers Association. She'll be in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11.
Ten Years: Remembering 9-11 by Marie Triller ($29.95) is published by John Isaacs Books with a foreward by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. It is available in bookstores, the New York State Museum, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and at www. amazon.com. Triller is available on weekends for talks and book signings; she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.