Lilliputian figures -- firefighters stark against the grayish white dust that blanketed so much of lower Manhattan -- walk a path cleared of rubble near the base of the destroyed south tower in the ... more 
Lilliputian figures -- firefighters stark against the grayish white dust that blanketed so much of lower Manhattan -- walk a path cleared of rubble near the base of the destroyed south tower in the days after the attacks. Aside from the still-staggering scale of the destruction, however, what truly astonishes in Peter Morgan's picture is the suggestion -- as one senses amid Roman ruins, for example, or in ash-entombed figures from Pompey -- of an entire civilization's wreckage. There is an ancient feel to the photograph that sparks a lingering question: Is this the literal end of the figurative "American Century"?

(Photo: PETER MORGAN/Reuters /Landov )

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Fri, Sep 9, 2011 7:29 PM EDT