This video was shot by Bob and Bri, who in 2001 lived in a high rise a mere 500 yards from the North Tower. On this seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I think it’s important to post this again. It is the most prolonged and continuous video of the attack that I have seen, and, as such, It is difficult to watch.

That’s why it’s so important to watch.

Very likely I will continue to post this every year on September 11 while I’m still blogging, so long as I feel the need to do it.


  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    September 11, 2008

    403 error: permission refused

  2. #2 Orac
    September 11, 2008

    Sorry, but it works just fine for me on multiple browsers. I’m using a Mac, but haven’t tried it on a PC.

  3. #3 Craig Willoughby
    September 11, 2008

    I was in NY on business that day. My client and I were having a breakfast meeting at a little restaurant not too far from the towers. I remember hearing the very loud boom (it rattled the windows, plates, glasses, everything) as the 1st plane hit, and I saw people running down the street. I didn’t see what happened, but definitely heard and felt it. Not too long after that, we had firemen and police telling us to evacuate. I wasn’t there for the 2nd plane. The whole experience was very surreal.

    Thanks for posting this, Orac. We all need to remember.

  4. #4 D. C. Sessions
    September 11, 2008

    Sorry, but it works just fine for me on multiple browsers.

    403 isn’t a client error, it’s a host error. The server refuses the connection.

  5. #5 Craig Willoughby
    September 11, 2008

    D.C. You need Quicktime to watch it.

  6. #7 D. C. Sessions
    September 11, 2008

    D.C. You need Quicktime to watch it.

    No, I just needed to keep hammering away at the server until I got through. As above, it was a server issue not a client issue. (MPlayer works fine.)

    Is anyone surprised that the server might be a bit loaded?

  7. #8 Umlud
    September 11, 2008

    Quick Time Blocked by Firefox

    I don’t know which version of Quicktime I’m using with my Firefox v3, but it works just fine.

  8. #9 JKW
    September 11, 2008

    That never gets any easier to watch.

  9. #10 Bourgeois_Rage
    September 11, 2008

    Just finished watching the video. Watching the attacks is a weird experience for me as I didn’t see any live coverage until 5 days later. I was cutoff from all media except radio in rural Indiana. All the information we got was through people who came an went during the day. When we got home, many of us wanted to watch the attack as we had not seen it yet, only to find that most TV stations were vowing not to show it anymore because it was getting gratuitous. It’s strange watching it unfold through someone else’s eyes.

  10. #11 Dawn
    September 11, 2008

    Nope, still can’t watch it, Orac. Even after 7 years, the thought and remembrance of what I saw out our building windows makes me nauseated and brings tears to my eyes. Maybe one day….

  11. #12 Dianne
    September 11, 2008

    The video doesn’t really do it for me. It leaves too much out. Like the smell. I lived about a mile from the WTC at the time and the air smelled like barbeque and burning plastic for months. We all breathed the dead. And the signs. People almost immediately started posting signs about people “missing” from the upper floors of the WTC. It was pretty quickly clear that these were memorials, not calls for information. And the looks on people’s faces–like the world was falling in and they didn’t know what to do. With the best will in the world, a video, which doesn’t include these things, ends up looking like a special effect. Another Hollywood spectacular. I don’t mean to belittle the people who made this video in any way, but I fear that this sort of video can too easily become the centerpiece for a two minute hate. I didn’t admire the 9/11 attackers. I don’t like their goals or their methods. I don’t want to live in a country that is using the same essential method–destroy people and thing until your opponent gives up–to get its way. I don’t know how to stop terrorism. But I do know that I don’t want people in Iraq and Afghanistan and maybe soon Iran to be facing this kind of destruction and worse on a daily basis because people see videos like this and decide that it looked so cool that they have to go out and do the same thing.

    (Sorry about the incoherence of this rant. On 9/11 I was working at Bellevue Hospital. I saw people coming in injured-smoke inhalation, burns, shock. I saw paramedics drop off patients and go back for the next person–and never return–until a few weeks later when a large number of refrigerator trucks pulled up to an extended morgue built in back of the building. I was fortunate enough not to lose any close friends but I don’t even know what happened to some acquaintances. I do not wish this sort of thing on the people of Afghanistan and even less so on the people of Iraq who are not only innocent but whose government wasn’t even guilty. How can we mourn this tragedy and yet be so willing to inflict it on others?)

  12. #13 DLC
    September 11, 2008

    I remember it too well. I used to work nights, and I’d gotten home just at 4:30 AM. The first impact was at 5:46 AM AZ time.
    I’m a recovering news junkie, and I had flipped on CNN just after the first impact. I remember the day too well.
    Thanks for posting this, Orac.

  13. #14 SC
    September 11, 2008


    Thank you for your post. As much as I try to put it out of my mind, the anniversary always makes me think about walking over the St. Vincent’s that evening with a friend to try to donate blood. Doctors and nurses were standing outside waiting for the ambulances full of wounded people to arrive, ready to help the survivors. But even though all you heard were sirens, no ambulances were coming. People were walking around handing out photocopies with pictures of their family members.

    well, that’s all I’m capable of writing about this, evidently. I look forward to subsequent posts about something else.

  14. #15 CyberLizard
    September 11, 2008

    I was getting ready for a funeral when it happened. Extraordinarily surreal to sit through a funeral service, wondering how many more people I would hear about being dead after I got out. Driving to the service, I remember seeing more airplanes in the air at once than I ever had before, all of them on approach paths to the nearest airport. The whole thing still seems beyond comprehension. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the people there in the city.

    Thank you for posting this. It had a much different impact than the random snippets of coverage did. After watching the scene from the same angle for so many minutes, you begin to recognize the scenery, it becomes familiar. So when they finally come down, to see that familiar scene looking like something that you would expect to see after a volcano… my heart goes out to those who have had to endure this on a much more personal level than I. And thanks for your comments, Dianne. I completely agree and am heartened to hear such compassion from one so intimately affected by this.

  15. #16 Keenacat
    September 11, 2008

    I had been shopping with a friend of mine in Hamburg city, when suddently I foud myself staring at one of those monitors they had in a big sporting equipment shop. Usually they show commercials, music videos and stuff like that. Now you could see planes crashing into the wtc, again and again and again in an infinite loop.
    I remember asking myself if this was some weird movie. It took me quite a while to realize this was real.
    Next thing I thought was something like “Come on, there can’t be people inside. It must be closed or something.”.
    It was simply an unbelievable disaster.

    The news were on every screen I recall seeing in Hamburg and people were grouping in front of them, staring in total disbelief.
    We germans may be on the other side of the ocean, but we felt the pain like you did.
    I will light a candle for those who suffered death, injury or the loss of loved ones.

  16. #17 Jared at The Doctor Job
    September 11, 2008

    I’m watching this fine on Firefox, and I don’t have the newest version of Quicktime.

    Thank you for posting this. I can’t believe it’s been seven years either.

  17. #18 JustaTech
    September 11, 2008

    I knew, knew, knew I should have stayed away from the Internet today. I didn’t loose anyone I knew to 9/11, but it still makes me want to cry, even now. I know some of that was that it happened my first week of college, and I was a continent away from my parents. Maybe I’m just an overly-emotional person, but unlike many on the West Coast I watched it on TV in real time, and part of the horror was that, at first, no one believed me.

    I think I’m going to hide under my desk and sniffle for a while.

    To top it off, it’s my cousin’s birthday. Hugs man. You should just lie and pick another day.

    That’s a long way of saying, Orac, while I know why you posted this film, there is no way I can watch this now. Crying at work tends to get people in trouble.

  18. #19 Ranson
    September 11, 2008

    A salute. To those who died in tragedy, and to those who died trying to save them. To the families who lost and to the heroes we gained. To the soldier and son, the doctor and daughter, to all for whom the day changed life.

  19. #20 D
    September 11, 2008


    Three months later (5 December) I was in Honolulu. The city was full of old guys, many in uniform — the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was that week. Also, as it happens, there were a lot of FDNY crew and their families there as part of a post-traumatic break after losing friends and colleagues and then spending months sorting through rubble.

    It was damn strange listening to the two groups arguing about bar tabs, neither willing to let the other pay for their own drinks.

  20. #21 Dianne
    September 11, 2008

    For a change of pace, I’m now going to talk about things that went right on 9/11/01 and thereafter.

    First, the evacuation of downtown Manhattan. I mentioned earlier the disturbing lack of injuries from the WTC attacks. It’s true, but the other, better, reason that there were few injuries is that people in the surrounding buildings-and even the WTC towers-evacuated in a calm and orderly manner. Therefore, there were not thousands of injuries and deaths from people getting trampled and crushed, as there easily could have been. I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but New York. Maybe Tokyo or Hong Kong. But the practice every New Yorker has in dealing with being in a crowd paid off in a big way that day.

    Second, the leadership. I’m not thrilled with every little thing that Giuliani or, especially, Bush did that day, but they both did one thing right: They made it clear that Islam was not the enemy and that vigilanteism would not be tolerated. Giuliani threatened to prosecute any anti-Arabic or anti-Islamic hate crime to the fullest extent allowable by law. And did it too. As a small example, a few days after 9/11 two men were standing in front of a mosque near where I live, shouting anti-Islamic slogans. I called the police and reported the event. Within 15 minutes, the men were gone and the police had agreed to give extra protection to the mosque. It was peaceful after that, at least there. Bush, I understand, had a photo op at a mosque in September 2001 to show people that he did not regard all of Islam as the enemy but only the terrorists. It was probably a self-interested act–not wanting to offend the Saudis–but it probably kept a number of people from getting hurt or killed for no reason other than their race or religion.

    Third, the foreign aid. While New York was “disasterland” (that place on TV where the disasters happen, far, far from where you live–you hope), we got all sorts of interesting aid from various places. Teddy bears from Minnesota, cows from Africa, blood donations from–everyone. Most of it wasn’t needed–New York’s economy wasn’t actually destroyed and only a small part of it was rendered temporarily uninhabitable, but the sentiment was very sweet.

    Finally, the collapse. The collapse, you say? Well, yes. The buildings collapsed in their own footprints. They did not collapse all over south Manhattan. They did not destroy nearby buildings, which would have killed another few thousand people. They did not collapse immediately, which allowed a number of people to escape. There’s been a lot of criticism of how they should have stood and it’s probably true, but who could have anticipated 767s in the early 1970s? The new tower is being built to be, quite literally, bomb or at least airplane proof. Hopefully, we’ll never know whether it is or not.

    That’s about all I’ve got. It was horrible, but it could have been worse. It wasn’t worse because people acted cooperatively and put aside their fear and anger to act responsibly. Can we try to do that some more? Please?

  21. #22 Ranson
    September 11, 2008

    A brilliant post, Dianne.

  22. #23 Noadi
    September 11, 2008

    That was really painful to watch even after 7 years. Thank you for posting it.

    I had just started college when it happened, I remember another kid in my dorm coming in and waking everyone up telling us the first tower had been hit. At this point we didn’t know it was an attack, we thought it was a horrific accident. I went to class and got partway through when another professor came in and said the second tower was hit, al classes canceled for the day and we were all getting together in the dining hall. I think I sat there most of the day listening and watching reports, talking with friends (none of whom I’d known for more than a few days, it was only a week into the semester) and trying to figure out what had happened. Still surreal to think back on it.

  23. #24 Craig Willoughby
    September 11, 2008

    I think that part of the evacuation and the reason it when so smoothly was that we were all in a state of shock. Everywhere I looked, I saw faces that had this “Oh My God! WTF is going on?” look (I’m sure it was on my face, too). It was a horribly sad tragedy, but in a way, I was so proud of Americans and the way we all came together to help each other out. During the evacuation, New Yorkers were helping each other, picking up the children of mothers who had more than one kid and helping the mother get out of the area; A complete stranger reaching over and hugging someone who had become overwhelmed by the horror of what was happening, and they didn’t even know each other. And then, like you said, the rest of America stepping up, sending gifts and money and clothes and anything they could think of to help New Yorkers. The blood banks were nearly overflowing with donations, and volunteers were practically being turned away from helping at ground zero. Seeing all of this in the wake of something so terrible truly gave me hope for the Human Race. This brought America together like nothing else I have seen since Pearl Harbor, and it is very sad that the strength and love that America showed each other during that time did not last.

  24. #25 D. C. Sessions
    September 11, 2008


    It was going around that week. I was in Las Vegas for a meeting, and you can imagine that turning off air travel had some effect on the city. Our meeting, as it happens, lasted until Friday and I had one of the first flights out but the hotel told me that they’d hold my room available in case I didn’t leave after all.

    Enough people had come from the Bay Area or LA that it was possible to drive back; the rental car outfits ran out of cars in a flash — but they put people together with others who did have cars so that most of the cars leaving were full instead of having a single occupant. Some people had family drive from the Coast to Nevada to pick them up, and those cars left full too — every hotel concierge had what amounted to a car-pool list and I heard the one at the Golden Nugget checking with another for a cross-match.

    We do OK when it’s time to help out — it’s the whole “fear” thing that brings out the worst.

  25. #26 Rogue Epidemiologist
    September 11, 2008

    I friend called me just after the first plane hit. It was too early for me — my first class wasn’t until 12:30pm. I gurgled and mumbled at the phone; but when he said, “Dude, we’re under attack! Turn on your TV!” I was jolted with the most unpleasant kind of lucidity. I’m on the west coast.

    My first thought was a string of expletives.

    My second thought was, “Will classes be canceled today?”

    Class wasn’t canceled. I went to my art history class; the professor instructed us to “hug a Muslim. They’re probably having a bad day.” no kidding.

    I went to some candlelight vigils. They all Godwined themselves into a cesspool of anti-capitalist, anti-Israel, anti-American vitriol. Say what you will and spin it however you want, I heard my fellow students call America some horrible things. A few explicitly said the attack was deserved. Asshats, all of them.

    Seven years already?

  26. #27 Der Bruno Stroszek
    September 11, 2008

    One of the few pomo-ish jargon words that actually means something and is useful is ‘defamiliarisation’. When we see the same footage of the World Trade Center attacks repeated over and over again, we can be in danger of seeing it as a sort of symbol, of losing sight of what it really meant, and the genuine gut-punched horror we all felt that day. At the very least, we may come to anticipate its horrors and become accustomed to them. This is why rare footage like the material Orac posted is valuable.

    I watched Paul Greengrass’s United 93 with a friend, and when we came out that friend said of the scene where the first plane hit the WTC, “It was like I was seeing it for the first time”. I later found out that this was one of the few special effects in the whole film; Greengrass used existing footage of the World Trade Center and composited it with a computer-generated explosion.

    The idea that art can change the world is one which is often blasted as naive, but I believe it is entirely true. The amount of documentary footage of 9/11, or the Holocaust, or Hiroshima or all the scars on humanity’s memory is necessarily finite, but as long as there are artists able to find new ways of dramatising the horror, the memory and the emotion will remain a living, breathing thing.

  27. #28 Diane
    September 11, 2008

    I don’t think I can watch that again. When she opens the window, the blast of sound made it very real for me. I can’t imagine what it was like to be there. Thanks, Dianne, for your sharing some of your experience.

  28. #29 agni
    September 12, 2008

    I came here to see the video. But there is no any video. Sorry.

  29. #30 Orac
    September 12, 2008

    The video is there. You need QuickTime.

  30. #31 Glendon Mellow
    September 14, 2008

    The Centre for Inquiry here in Toronto just held a debate with a “truther” and two skeptics defending the official account.

    Afterward I struck by just how many people in the audience I have seen at other CFI events believe it was an”inside job”. They mention how the fire never smashed any windows, and how the Towers fell like they were demolished.

    Disgusting. On this video I saw plenty of windows shattered by the end that were not broken in the beginning, and the north tower fall from the top down, which is not what happens in controlled demolition.

    People need to remember and some people need to wake up.

    Thank you for posting the video.

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