Monday, January 31, 2005

9/11 Commission Report

I had checked my bags, made it through security, then panicked.

My book--I'd left Dan Brown's Angels and Demons in my check in bag. OK, I shouldn't water down the language. This should not be called panic. Perhaps "productivity anxiety distress syndrome" triggered from the thought that I'd be doomed to read the in-flight magazine. I had wanted to finish the breathless suspense novel but now my prospects of suspense would be whether or not they were serving pretzels or peanuts.

So I acted quickly and bought (the price wasn't actually that bad) a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report. It does not read like a report, though it was put together by hundreds of commission staff by interviews and millions of pages of documents.

The report reads instead like a narrative, opening as a novel with the scene of a clear blue September morning. What I like about the report is that it tells everything we know but nothing more than what could be verified about the flights and what happened in each flight, what happened at ground control, the FAA, NORAD, the administration. Then the movement of the story goes to the terrorist networks and back story then goes to the events on the ground in NYC, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. including NYPD accounts of rescue and response, the horror and the heroism.

The report finishes with recommendations for world security and recommendations to the United States government. At several points in the story I caught my breath and had a lump in my throat. Read this account. It's part of who we now are, a reflection of a shifting world view that we all participate with and continue to observe in one another and ourselves.

It's likely you're not stuck in an airport, so you can download the report free in parts or whole from the 9-11 Commission web site.

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