Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

edge of zero


"What wound did ever heal but by degrees?" --William Shakespeare

As a nation, we are still healing from the gaping wound inflicted by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. But for those who live nearby, recovery is more complicated.

Joel and Renee Kopel and their daughter, Jackie, worked and went to school just one block east of Ground Zero. William Barthman, the jewelry store the couple manages, was damaged in the attack, then looted twice. But they still consider themselves lucky. Fourteen-year-old Jackie believes the lucky 7 and the American flag on the shirt she was wearing that day may have protected them.

Over the past year, the tragedy has affected their lives in many ways. They are haunted by memories of the towers falling and grieve over lost friends and customers. They've felt violated by tourists traipsing through the streets looking for 9/11 souvenirs. Renee changed their traditional vacation plans because they now fear flying. Jackie attended a new school when her old one became an emergency command center. Her fears of seeing low-flying planes and hearing thunderstorms are part of the legacy she bears. So are the memories of seeing people jumping out of Trade Center windows.

But the family members have found a silver lining to the terrorist attack. It has brought them closer to one another and to friends and neighbors. "There's a certain understanding, a kinship ... of everybody that was there that awful day," says Joel Kopel. "We are really brothers and sisters that went through the war ... and there's a common thread that'll never be broken." This essay in pictures and in their own words tells how one family has coped, just one block east of Ground Zero.

"I mourn for people I don't even know. They weren't at war. They weren't police officers in the line of duty. And their families will never have them again. ...That is the most horrible thing." -- Renee Kopel

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