A special Black History Month event took place this week in Harlem when Rep. Charlie Rangel presented Harlem’s own Anthony Whitaker with a congressional proclamation in recognition of his historical, inspirational and iconic photograph “Steel Standing.” The presentation took place Monday, Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building lobby in Harlem, located at 163 W. 125th St.

“Steel Standing” is a compelling black-and-white photograph that majestically portrays the ruined facade of the South Tower, part of the World Trade Center’s seven-building complex in Lower Manhattan that was destroyed by an unimaginable act of terrorism on 9/11.

Whitaker maintains that “Steel Standing” is far more than an iconic photograph. “It is a powerful symbol of courage, strength, resilience and rebirth because it refused to fall in the face of one of the most shocking premeditated criminal acts in human history. It literally identified itself by virtue of what it was—a huge monument of ‘Steel’ that was still ‘Standing.’”

This unique symbol was forged by the thousands of people whose lives were lost and sacrificed on that fateful September morning. Whitaker states, “It is a symbolic portrait of their heroic souls that serves as a transcendent message and an inspirational authentic visual memorial. It communicates that no matter how impossible or difficult your situation may seem, if you courageously confront it with unwavering strength of character and fortitude, you can ultimately overcome all of your fears and challenges of life, including death. Yes. Their souls and spirits are and will forever be ‘Steel Standing.’”