Three years: On the one-year anniversary of 9/11, I posted the following observation:
There are so many words being recorded today on an experience we all shared together a year ago, yet all experienced in a uniquely personal way. Where we were when we heard the news will forever be a part of our individual life-stories. John Lavey will be a part of my memory as I will always recall him asking me if I had heard the news. A machine-gun wielding FBI agent guarding our locked-down office building is another. And then, that numb, disbelieving fog in my head that seemed to linger for about as long as the smoke hung to Ground Zero. Hugging family. And understanding the tragedy with childlike mystery and grown-up, hard-knocked insight. We made it through a year in which September 11 never really turned into September 12. But still, life went on.
In some ways, September 11 has still not turned into September 12, but sill, life goes on.
A few weeks ago, I was surprised to read within the context of a NYT Review of Books commentary regarding the 9/11 Commission Report that it is “an uncommonly lucid, even riveting, narrative of the attacks, their background and the response to them. The prose is free from bureaucratese and, for a consensus statement, the report is remarkably forthright. Though there could not have been a single author, the style is uniform. The document is an improbable literary triumph.”
While the reviewer, Judge Richard Posner, dissents from the conclusions of the report, primarily the “bromide” obviousness of the recommendations, the Clanceyesque description of the book caused me to pick up a copy to read in the days leading up to today. I, too, found the report an improbable literary triumph. I really didn’t want to read it as I’d so much like to pretend the events never happened. Yet as a narrative of the events of 9/11 and the background leading up to it, the report is riveting. And, no matter how one feels about the commission recommendations, I recommend reading the report as a reminder for how much our lives have changed since three years ago, today.
(You can purchase a print version via Amazon.com or download free PDF versions via the 9/11 Commission website. Also, here is a keyword search tool that indexes the report from Vivismo [via ResourceShelf.com]).
Update II: Library of Congress September 11 web archive. According to ResourceShelf.com, the archive was produced “in partnership with the Internet Archive, WebArchivist.org and the Pew Internet & American Life Project” and is a collection of digital materials known as the September 11 Web Archive…The September 11 Web Archive consists of over 30,000 selected Web sites archived from September 11, 2001 through December 1, 2001.”