Monday, February 15, 2010

A New View of 9-11

Last week, ABC News released 12 photographs that were among the thousands they received in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request for pictures of the collapse of the World Trade Center.  These images, which had never been released before, were taken on September 11, 2001 from a New York Police Department helicopter.

These new images have a huge amount of power.  They are sharp and clear, and offer a new angle -- from above.  They are good photography by any standard.  As you flip through them, it is like using an old-fashioned animation flip book.  In time lapse animation, we see the towers come down.  From a dispassionate standpoint, it looks pretty cool.  Then you remember that this isn't a movie, or a planned building implosion, but an occupied building, and it isn't cool anymore.

There isn't an adult in American who hasn't seen pictures or video of the collapse before.  On some level, we think we're "over it," some more than others.  Yet there is something compelling and awful about these new pictures.  Maybe it's the new angle, maybe it's the clear sequencing, but these pictures put me back to that day more than 9 years ago in a way that little else has.  Perhaps because they are so dispassionate, they refocus the viewer on the facts -- not the politics or even the fear or anger.

I have not chosen to post any of the pictures in this space because I want you to have control over whether and when you look at them.  If you haven't yet, however, I would encourage you to.  They aren't gory, but they do pack a wallop.  If you want to understand what happened that day, I think you need to see these.  You can view them here.


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Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at
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