For many in New York and Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2001, was a personal experience, an attack on their cities. Most everywhere else in the world, it was a television event.
TV’s commemoration as the 10th anniversary of the event approaches puts that day in many different contexts. There is one place, however, for people to see the Sept. 11 attacks and the week after as they unfolded, without any filters.
The Internet Archive, a California-based organization that collects audio, moving images, and web pages for historical purposes, has put together a television news archive of that day’s coverage.
More than 20 channels were recorded, with more than 3,000 hours of television. Besides major U.S. networks like ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC, the Internet Archive has posted online TV recordings from Moscow, Paris, London, Baghdad, Tokyo, Ottawa, and elsewhere.
Called “Understanding 9/11,” the site is available at http://www.archive.org/details/911/day.
The material is valuable to researchers and educators, but the Internet Archive wanted to make it easy to use so the general public can go back and see what that day was like, said Brewster Kahle, the organization’s director.
“It is one of the top four or five events that have happened on television,” Kahle said. “You can think of putting a man on the moon, the Watergate hearings, the Kennedy assassination. I’m hopeful that people will come to this and make their own decisions about how they want to think about it, as opposed to politicians who have been pushing and pulling the event for years.”
The archive begins at 8 a.m. ET, or 46 minutes before American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.