Rainbow Appears Over World Trade Center on Eve of Sept. 11, 2015 | NBC New York

New York City and the nation mark 15 years since the Sept. 11 attacks

Rainbow Appears Over World Trade Center on Eve of Sept. 11, 2015

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The man who took the viral photo of a rainbow appearing to originate from the World Trade Center on the eve of Sept. 11 explains how the photo has resonated with so many. Andrew Siff Reports. (Published Friday, Sept. 11, 2015)

    FROM THE ARCHIVES

    Photos showing a rainbow appearing to originate from the World Trade Center on the eve of Sept. 11 are quickly being shared online as they elicit emotional responses from admirers.

    Ben Sturner, CEO of sports marketing company Leverage Agency, said he stepped outside onto the terrace of his apartment in Long Island City, Queens, Thursday morning, part of his daily routine to check the weather. 

    It was just after 7 a.m., and from across the East River, "I see this rainbow, and it's coming from the World Trade Center and it's the most gorgeous rainbow I've ever seen," he told NBC 4 New York over the phone. "I took out my phone and started snapping photos." 

    He posted them to his social media accounts, convinced others were posting images of the same beautiful scene. But he didn't find any others showing the same angle. 

    Once people started noticing his photos online, the responses started pouring in, with many remarking on the timing — a day before the nation would pay tribute to victims of the terror attacks from 14 years ago.

    Tribute in Light Tribute in Light

    One woman tweeted him, "Best birthday present in 14 years. This picture of hope and renewal that I feel coursing through me and out my fingertips. Thank you." 

    From the Archives: The Man With the Red BandanaFrom the Archives: The Man With the Red BandanaAt the dedication of the 9/11 museum in May 2014, President Obama recalled the heroism of Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old from Nyack, New York, who perished on 9/11 while saving the lives of others. On the first anniversary of the attacks, NBC 4 New York's Chuck Scarborough talked with Crowther's parents who explained how they came to learn their son was the hero known only at first as "the man in the red bandanna." The museum has one of Crowther's red bandannas on display. (Published Friday, Sept. 9, 2016)

    One woman commented on the photo as shared on NBC 4 New York's Facebook page: "The message: let this rainbow be a sign of peace, strength and forgiveness. They are all angels, resting in peace. 9/11/01."

    Another commenter said: "I'm on the bus and nearly cried when I saw this. Full body goosebumps."

    And thousands of others have chimed in, describing the photo as "beautiful," "mysterious" and "incredible."

    On the day before the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a rainbow emerged from 1 World Trade Center and stretched across Manhattan. (CREDIT: Ben Sturner)

    Posted by NBC New York on Thursday, September 10, 2015

    Sturner, who moved to New York City from North Carolina 12 years ago and wasn't in the city on Sept. 11, said he's touched that so many people have found their own special meaning in what he calls "a magical rainbow." 

    "You never know when you see something that could be moving," he said.

    "It gives me chills," he said of the reaction. 

    View From the Observation Deck at One World TradeView From the Observation Deck at One World Trade

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