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Sept. 11: One year after

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Photographer says Sept. 11 flag shot hasn't changed him, but the fame has changed his life

By Steve Strunsky, Associated Press

HACKENSACK, N.J. Newspaper photographer Thomas E. Franklin still shoots the same small-town subjects he has for years.

But these days his schedule also is crowded with events like his appearance at the White House -- at President Bush's invitation -- and the unveiling of a postage stamp adapted from his photo of three dusty firefighters hoisting a tattered flag amid the rubble of the World Trade Center.

A year after the terrorist attack, that picture remains as vivid a symbol of America's response to Sept. 11 as it was the day after.

The picture, which first appeared in Franklin's newspaper, The Record of Hackensack, became an instant icon, reproduced countless times on everything from the cover of Newsweek to snow globes.

It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, one of the few photography awards Franklin did not win.

"I think the events of Sept. 11 have really changed me," Franklin, 36, said in a recent interview. "The picture specifically really hasn't. I mean, now people know who Tom Franklin is, and it has opened up some doors.

"But the picture is not about me, it's about the thousands of people who died."

On assignments, Franklin himself sometimes becomes the main story, recognized by the people he is sent to photograph.

"No one had to convince me of the power of photography," Franklin said. However, "I've been surprised all along that people could react so strongly to a photograph."

Franklin is on a committee at The Record, owner of the picture, that decides who will be granted a license to use the photo. The image has earned more than $600,000 for charities set up by The Record and the three New York City firefighters -- George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Bill Eisengrein.

"We take great pride in the fact that Tom was able to capture such a significant moment," said Jennifer Borg, The Record's general counsel and the daughter of publisher Malcolm A. Borg.

The photograph is not universally revered, however. One element contributing to its appeal is its resemblance to another famous flag-raising picture, taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, of six soldiers on Iwo Jima during World War II.

In an essay in the September 2002 issue of Vanity Fair, David Friend wrote: "In photography circles, Franklin's shot was quickly dismissed as trite, flat and unimaginatively composed."

Franklin shrugs off that characterization.

"It was just a moment in time, and I was the witness," Franklin said. "And I did what any good photographer would do, I recognized it and I shot it and then I moved on to the next photograph."

He almost lost the photo. He was using a digital camera that day and his initial frames were obliterated when he was shoved into a lamp post during the chaos around ground zero.

"I lost my first 80 or so pictures that I shot on Sept. 11," he said. "All the pictures of the Trade Center towers still standing."



Today's news:
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Mass. remembers victims
Silence, tears mark day at Logan
Under alert, Mass. carries on
Bush faces day with resolve
World remembers attacks in US
Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.
Updated wire coverage

Photo galleries:
Families mourn, remember
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Ceremony at the Pentagon
Ceremony at Pa. crash scene
Remembrances worldwide
Remembrances in Boston

NECN RealVideo:
Moment of silence observed
Ceremony at State House
Gettysburg Address read
Procession at Ground Zero
A somber travel day at Logan
Images of Sept. 11, 2001

 THE SERIES

 DAY ONE   SEPT. 3

Preparing for the worst
Security has become the new norm in Greater Boston.

 DAY TWO   SEPT. 4

Fear and children
Children's responses may shed light on human anxiety, resiliency.

 DAY THREE   SEPT. 5

Muslim minds
The US effort to win over Muslim hearts and minds is failing.

 DAY FOUR   SEPT. 6

Science vs. terrorism
New chemical, biological threats spur nation's top minds.

 DAY FIVE   SEPT. 7

Detainees
For those deported after Sept. 11, the losses are wrenching.

 DAY SIX   SEPT. 8

A special Magazine issue
A Sept. 11 narrative by former Massport chief Virginia Buckingham, plus an essay by Christopher Hitchens.

A special Arts section
How culture has changed since Sept. 11, including a gallery of art inspired by the attacks.

A special Focus section
A look at how the lives of six Americans were altered.

Everywhere USA
Terrorism comes to God's country.

 DAY SEVEN   SEPT. 9

Where is Al Qaeda?
How have bin Laden and his terrorist group eluded US forces?

 DAY EIGHT   SEPT. 10

Two cities
New York and DC one year later.

 DAY NINE   SEPT. 11

America remembers
The US looks back at the terrorist attacks.

Victims and survivors
A year later, still hurting.

A time for bells and remembrance
A clash of views on terror
Limited damage to the economy
Families build support system
NYC's healing process
Finding comfort in the kitchen
Bailey: A day of atonement


From the Associated Press:
Tribute paid with tattoos
Charities changed by 9/11
White House calls home
9/11 stole innocence, love
Man escaped earthquake, 9/11
Update on 9/11's famous faces
Firemen still burying dead
A mother's note to a lost son
9/11 created heroes in death
Voice mails bring comfort
Little things hold memories
87th floor survivor copes
Sampling of 9/11 memorials
Pentagon survivors move on
Moments of silence on Sept. 11
Survivors try to move forward
Families cling to chances
Sept. 11 widow trying to forgive
Widow becomes an advocate
Workplace response varies
Graphic: Funds offer relief





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