The New York Times has a piece today documenting the last hours and moments of the Twin Towers, which people I trust speak highly of. I haven’t read all of it yet, but certainly will soon.
If you find that story compelling, I also would recommend listening to the broadcasts on the emergency radio channel of the NY fire and police departments, which are available on the ‘net here.
A few warnings/notes about that link: first, you will probably hear an advertisement before the actual clip starts. It’s entirely possible that it will be for products that are staggeringly inappropriate to be hawking on such a serious broadcast. Second, this outfit seems to think they are a real radio station, and so when you open the link you apparently get dumped into a broadcast “in progress” with no ability to control start/stop time. Many months ago, I found a much better site that allowed you to review individual chunks of the broadcasts at will, but I can’t seem to find it now — if anyone else has a a better link, please send it my way.
But, if you can get past those issues, the broadcast is riveting, and if you had begun to lose that sharp feeling of anger and sadness from last September, is guaranteed to bring it back in full force.
Need more? WavSource.com has audio clips. Try this 911 call from the morning of the attacks. Or David Letterman’s concise, moving summary of the attacks on his first broadcast following them. And if you need to be reminded of the resolve necessary for the fight ahead, try President Bush’s statement to Congress, or even better, John McCain’s simple declaration of September 12th.
For me, today is a deeply appropriate day to review material like this. For although those that lost their lives on September 11th were not, for the most part, soldiers, they were without question causalities in a war. A war which started long before September 11th, and which stretches ahead of us into the future to an end we cannot now know: except that we know it will most certainly end with our victory.
What we also know is that we must remember those we have lost, and that the only way to truly honor their memories and their sacrifice is to continue the fight against the cowards who robbed them of their lives. The fight will take us on a long road; one which merely began in Afghanistan, and which winds through the capitals of Islamabad, Baghdad, Riyadh, and others. The pressure to allow the regimes who solemnly claim to be our allies in public to remain in power, quietly supporting the murderers in the darkness through funds, arms, or simply words of hatred against our nation; that pressure will be great. There will never be sufficient evidence to convince the world that these regimes are evil. There will always be those who cry “racism”; “oppression”, and “national sovereignty” in defense of the tyrants, the religious fascists, and the murderers.
But to reject those voices, and press on with the fight, is simply what we must do. And it is the only way to truly remember our lost from this war, and those that came before, with honor.
Update 5/31: I’ve removed the actual .wav sound files which the links above; I had temporarily stored them on my personal server but need to conserve bandwidth (it costs $$$) — especially with the flood of Salon folks coming through today. If you want to hear them, go directly to the WavSource site above — they are all there.