Matter Chatter

Honoring those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and the journalistic efforts that ensure we never forget

Like so many people, I was driving to work this morning, piecing together memories of this day eight years ago. It was day two of my journalism internship at the local newspaper and, as I waltzed through the door at 9 a.m., I was startled by a blockade of writers and photographers hovered around the newsroom’s sole television set, mouths agape, some with tears in their eyes.

When we realized what was happening, we all wanted to go home, call friends and family, and embrace loved ones. We wanted answers; we wanted to stand in front of that TV until we understood. For a moment, we weren’t hard-nosed reporters looking for a scoop. We were just people.

As a country, we were overcome with sadness on Sept. 11, 2001. The sorrow grew as days and months passed, and we learned the stories of the 2,752 victims who lost their lives. This morning, I listened as radio DJs spoke about the terrorist attacks and the various memorial services that are being held, and, eight years later, I felt a pang of grief. What can I do?

Then, the DJ said: “The best thing we can all do today is remember. We must never forget.”

It goes without saying that we must always honor and pay tribute to the thousands of people who died in the towers, in the planes, in the Pentagon and in the wake of the destruction that occurred that day. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues. Certainly, we must never forget.

I communicate with the media all day and work closely with photographers on behalf of our many clients in the photo industry. As I scanned the news this morning – to remember – I feel the urge to also honor and laud the people who have kept the victims’ stories and the day’s photographs so fresh in our minds.

One effort that particularly caught my attention and evoked emotion was David Dunlap’s narrative, and compilation of photographs and videos, on the New York Times’ photojournalism blog, “Lens.”

Yesterday, Dunlap posted “From the Archive: Moving Images” with imagery from the CameraPlanet Archive, which contains videos and photographs of the World Trade Center taken before, during and after the attacks. CameraPlanet is donating its 500-hour video archive to the National Sept. 11, 2001 Memorial & Museum. Today, Dunlap followed up with “Showcase: The World, as of 9/10/01,” with images from an exhibition that opens today, entitled “Twin Towers Once Stood.”

As a former journalist and PR professional who relies on the media on a daily basis, I am proud of the work that is being done to honor the people who were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. These individuals and organizations have captured an integral chapter of our country’s history and, each year, they find new ways to share it and make it relevant to us all. More importantly, they force us to remember.

With journalism and photojournalism of this caliber, people all over the world – and young children who are just now just learning about that tragic day – will do what they can to pay their respects; they will do what is most important now. They will never forget.