September 12, 2007

"Somerset Hospital marks Sept. 11 anniversary" - Daily American

Somerset Hospital marks Sept. 11 anniversary

“We were ready Sept. 11 and then it took the wind out of our sails,” said Somerset Hospital’s director of corporate communications, Greg Chiappelli.

He was talking about hospital employees who were ready to offer medical help on Sept. 11, 2001, but in the end, weren’t needed. He mentioned this commemoration to employees prior to a Sept. 11, 2001, memorial service Tuesday, which was sponsored by the Pastoral Care Committee at Somerset Hospital. Hospital employees, as well as the public, were invited to the service.

The Rev. Ruth Ann Campagna and the Rev. Mark Bendes offered prayers and scripture. Danny Conner performed two musical selections.

Valencia McClatchey was the featured speaker. She took the photo “The End of Serenity” of the smoke from the Flight 93 plane crash in the field near her home.

McClatchey said she heard a tremendously loud noise, unlike anything she’s heard in her years of living near coal mines, and looked outside of her house to see a flash like sunlight reflecting off a plane. She said she always has a camera by the door because she has a friend who is a helicopter pilot and does training runs around the Indian Lake area.

She said her friend will fly by her house, and she wanted to be ready to get a photo of him flying over for a car club newsletter.

Then she saw the mushroom cloud. She took the photo that has made the news all over the world.

She said she called the photo, which now hangs in the Smithsonian Institute, “The End of Serenity” because it was the end of our peaceful lives as we knew them to be. She said we are slowly getting back to that, but that we’ll never forget Sept. 11, 2001.

Valencia McClatchey, the woman who took the photo “The End of Serenity” on Sept. 11, 2001, of the mushroom cloud after United Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, was the guest speaker at Somerset Hospital’s memorial service Tuesday.

September 10, 2007

"Picture Made on 9/11 Takes a Toll on Photographer" - NY Times

(Response to this article below.)

(Secondary NY Times title: A Sept. 11 Photo Brings Out the Conspiracy Theorists)

September 10, 2007


Emily Jerich told visitors at a temporary memorial for victims of United Flight 93 about a photograph that Valencia M. McClatchey took of the crash on Sept. 11, 2001. In numerous online postings, critics have ripped apart every element of the photo, and Mrs. McClatchey’s life.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. , Sept. 7 — Valencia M. McClatchey thought she was doing the right thing when she gave the F.B.I. a copy of her photo of the mushroom cloud that rose over the hill outside her home after United Flight 93 crashed in a field here on Sept. 11, 2001.

And, after it became apparent that hers was the only known picture of that ominous, gray cloud — and the first shot after Flight 93 crashed — she thought she was still doing the right thing when she gave copies to people who asked for them, and let newspapers and television stations use it.

But fame for the photo has had an unexpected cost for the photographer.

“Every time I’ve done any stories it goes online and all these conspiracy theorists start up and they call me and harass me,” said Mrs. McClatchey, 51, who runs her own real estate company.

In numerous online postings, critics have ripped apart every element of the photo, and Mrs. McClatchey’s life. They accuse her of faking the photo, of profiteering from it and of being part of a conspiracy to cover up the fact that Flight 93 was shot down by the government.

They claim the mushroom cloud is from an ordnance blast, not a jet crashing; the cloud is the wrong color for burning jet fuel; the cloud is too small and in the wrong position.

They’ve posted her personal e-mail, phone numbers and street address online. One Canadian “9/11 debunker” surreptitiously taped a phone conversation with her, quizzing her about the photo, and then uploaded it to his Web site.

“It’s just gotten so bad, I’m just fed up with it,” Mrs. McClatchey said. “This thing has become too much of a distraction in my life. I have a husband and a new business to deal with, too.”

The F.B.I., the Smithsonian Institution — which used the photo in an exhibition on Sept. 11 — and the National Park Service’s Flight 93 National Memorial — which has used the photo in pamphlets — all consider the photo legitimate.

“We have no reason to doubt it,” said Bill Crowley, an agent who is a spokesman for the Pittsburgh F.B.I. office, which oversaw evidence collection in Shanksville.

Along with the rest of the nation, Mrs. McClatchey was watching the coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington when
she was shaken from her couch by a ground-shaking blast just over a mile away. She grabbed her new digital camera and took just one picture from her front porch.

It is a simple photo, showing a sloping green farm field, with a brilliant red barn in the foreground. Hovering above the barn in a brilliant blue sky is an ominous, dark gray mushroom cloud. Mrs. McClatchey named the photo “The End of Serenity.”

Barbara Black, acting site manager for the Flight 93 memorial, said, “What makes the image so powerful is that it’s this serene scene in Pennsylvania, this typical red barn, green trees, and then this terrible cloud above it that changed our life here forever.”

At the temporary memorial site, Flight 93 “ambassadors,” local residents who volunteer to tell visitors what happened here, always start the story by showing people Mrs. McClatchey’s photo.

From the beginning, Mrs. McClatchey said, she tried to use the photograph to help remember the 40 passengers on Flight 93. She sells copies to people and lets them choose whether $18 of the $20 fee goes to the Flight 93 National Memorial or the Heroic Choices organization (formerly the Todd Beamer Foundation).

To ensure that she controlled distribution of the photograph, in January 2002 she copyrighted it. To “protect the integrity of the photo,” Mrs. McClatchey said, she filed suit in 2005 against The Associated Press, saying that it violated her copyright by distributing the photo to its clients as part of a story. The lawsuit is pending.

One of Mrs. McClatchey’s neighbors here defended her against the allegations of the people he called the “Internet crazies.”

The McClatcheys “are as good neighbors as you could possibly have,” said Robert Musser, who owns the red barn that is so prominent in Mrs. McClatchey’s photo.

To accommodate visitors who will show up on Sept. 11 to recreate the picture, and who eventually find their way to the Mussers’ 94-year-old barn, they’ve tried to spruce it up this past week, adding a touch of paint. They plan to spend thousands in the near future to shore up the foundation on one side so the barn will endure for years to come.

“Here this barn could fall down, and it’s in the picture that’s so famous,” said Mr. Musser’s wife, Phyllis. “We have to do something.”

"The photograph Valencia M. McClatchey took from her front porch on Sept. 11, 2001."

This NY Times article is very misleading, gets a major point wrong and again, fails to mention me by name (so what's new?).

First, they say "we" accuse Val for taking part of the cover-up of Flight 93 being shot down. I have never made that claim, especially when I think it never crashed.

Second, they say my claim is that the plume in her photo is too small, but my claim is that her plume is too big, 7 football fields too big!

Third, they make it sound like I posted her email, phone numbers, and address as if they were all private. I posted her home address, which is posted on the website that advertises her photo for sale and posted her work phone number from her own business' website that also advertises the photo for sale. I posted her email address from the email she sent me, but after I checked and saw her email address is publicly available on the net too.

Btw, did you notice the title of this NY Times article:

Picture Made on 9/11 Takes a Toll on Photographer

"Picture made". Well, guess they got something right. ; )