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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Empty Sky

Reflections On 09.11.01

The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.

Everything Beautiful Is Far Away

I’m not supposed to come within five hundred yards of her house, but rumor has it she’s hired a gang of Vietnamese hard cases to get rid of me; so, order of protection or no order of protection, I’m going in. The back door is unlocked, and her mom and dad are just sitting down to dinner. They look like a couple of ghosts; I could put my fists right through them.


As I closed my front door and began to walk up the street, someone called to me. I turned and saw a young girl approach out of the darkness. She appeared neat and studentlike, slightly stooped by the weight of a backpack, a brand-new notebook under her arm. Her long, shiny hair was pulled back into a ponytail. She spoke to me in rapid Spanish, in a pipsqueak voice.



The day I started photographing her, Evelyn was walking with three dogs and two cats through the yard at her family home, a three-story former girls’ academy on the historic register. Although she had once worked in Manhattan, she had long ago come back to North Carolina to care for her parents near the end of their lives.

Readers Write
Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

November 2001

If we could ask the people who died in the attacks what to do now, I wonder what they would say. Wouldn’t we want to take time to listen to all their voices? Voices of rage. Voices of sorrow. Voices of compassion. Voices of hate. Voices that say, Do something. Voices that say, Don’t do something stupid.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


Time to plant tears, says the Almanac.

Elizabeth Bishop

More Quotations ▸
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