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Newly-Released Recording Captures Firefighters' Last Moments Before Towers Fell

The 73-minute recording of radio communications from firefighters in the stricken World Trade Center was found several weeks after the attack.

It was released last week by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to The New York Times after federal prosecutors, responding to a court request by the newspaper, said that making it public would not hurt terrorist cases. [emphasis added]

So what purpose does making it public serve? Why did I have to hear this on Fox News tonight, with the blurb "Voices of Doom" spelled out on the screen?

Please, someone tell me just one good reason why the public needs to hear these tapes played out on television.

If they wanted to just let the public know that the radio system was working fine, they could have just issued a press release to that extent. I don't need to hear the "voices of doom," as much as I did not need to see bodies falling from the towers or to hear the resulting thuds as they landed.

I don't know about you, but even a year later I still don't need reminders of what happened that day, nor do I need to relive the sights and sounds to keep the anger and anguish in my mind.


Amen to that. Seriously. What sort of masochistic society are we, that we need to live the nightmares of people dying. Especially from this horrific terrorist act?

I remember your post, the one where you had been shown an entirely unedited version of the French film of the Towers. I remember the part about the 'banging', and learning what the sound was.

Then I watched it on television, with Lisa. I knew, but she didn't, what the sound was. I didn't tell her, but she found out by watching the show. She crumpled, as did I, despite knowing what I was hearing.

And in those moments, in the 90 minutes of the film, I recall feeling both admiration for the men and women involved in the rescue attempt, and utter comdemnation for the people who created the reason for those firefighters and police and every other brave soul that day, to be there in the first place.

It's been 60 years since the end of WW2, and yet when we see veterans of the war crying when recounting the things they saw, the violence they experienced, and the deaths of friends and loved ones. Sixty years, and yet it sticks with them.

And every weekend, on the History Channel, 'The World at War' and other WW2 documentaries are shown, and each time I see them - or read the enormous number of books on the subject - I am reminded of a deplorable event in which I didn't take part, but which I can not forget.

Our collective memory is not long. We need to be reminded of the evil in the world - watching the UN and Congress debate about the subject, or watching Larry King or reading a hundred war-related blog entries isn't going to do it.

We need those people in the Towers to instill in us a sense of urgency, and of compulsion, of the basic principle that the evil in this world needs to be removed.

It's an impossible task, because there will always be an Ossama bin Laden somewhere. But as long as we have them outnumbered, out gunned and out looking over their shoulder, wondering if it's their day to die every time the sun rises, then we are winning.

I knew no one in those Towers, but I can promise you that everytime I see the footage, or see anything to do with that day, I grind my teeth and clench my fists and think how desparately we need to purge the earth of the likes of bin Laden and Hussein.

Their voices are horrible for you to hear, but like watching footage of the concentration camps in Germany, it's important to hold those men and women in the forefront of our memories, and ensure that it will not happen again, and that their efforts will not have been in vain.

If we do nothing, and allow a similar event to occur in the future, then they will have sacrificed their lives for nothing.

The post Mike refers to is here. I meant to refer to it in this post but forgot.

I think a credible reason for it to be released is for its informational value. Whether or not you, or anyone else, wants to hear it, it is information and that holds a certain amount of importance in today's society. It also holds a historical value, which many people may want to look back at and listen to.

Of course, I am a journalist with certain ideas and insights into informational flow, as I call it, but at the same time, I watched all of the events of September take place from my NYU dorm room window, so I think my approach is a balanced one.

Think about it.

There's a point where "information" becomes a ratings ploy...I don't buy that argument.

It's completely tasteless for this to be used as ratings hype or propaganda.

I think we've passed the time of these things being useful tools in helping us remember the importance of what happened. This is being used to perpetuate the fear and the pain.

I don't think anyone needs to hear it unless it might lead to an investigation on fire safety techniques or some way to avoid what happened again.

This was released for war propoganda. The government needs a good reason to get Saddam. The general public isn't 100 percent behind it so releasing these tapes reminds the public that there is "an evil force out there"

If the twin towers fell due to a freak accident such as a regular plane hitting the Twin Towers, (planes have hit the Twin Towers before 9/11) this tape wouldn't be released.

I too do not want to hear it, but it is important that it is available. Your prior post showed the Palestinians dancing in celebration of civilian deaths - that is revolting, but easily forgotten. Scenes of the actual murders, or of the falling bodies burn inside us, and tell us why we fight this evil. I do not need the scenes for the burn, but some do, and the scenes are an excellent retort to the pacifists who argue for restraint.

I agree that the recording should be made available as a public record. For broadcast? NO. I can see it being aired with a slideshow of firemen who were killed in a blatant attempt to manipulate public sympathy.

I guess I look at it in terms of folklore. I loved to hear my dad talk about his WW2 exploits in occupied Japan. There are alot of emotions and personal feelings involved, and the story needs to be told eventually. Just not now. Wait till there can be some distance emotionally.

Public record is one thing; putting yet another exploitative graphic up is another entirely. Ailes and Fox apparently have abdicated what little sense of responsibility they had left.

I would say to Statia that we are not a masochistic society, we are a rich, complex, varied society. Some people want to hear the voices and some don't. Let each person make the decision for themselves. Let some refuse to listen. Let some listen and turn it off half-way through. Let some listen in disgust and some in fear. Let some listen in burning anger and some with cold resolve. Let some complain about others who listen, and some defend those others. Because ours is a society which does not require everyone to think the same thoughts or have the same feelings. It is the rich variety of who we are that the terrorists attack and the U.S. military defends. It is also why one of the things on television at that time was the voices of the firefighters. In Iraq, it would have been the only thing on.

The intro to the ABC Radio News piece on these tapes went something like this: :"New release shows that safety equipment was not entirely ineffective..."So, apparently the reason that ABC wanted to share this material with the public was to imply what? That if there had been better equipment the safety suits would have withstood inferno temperatures? That if our government wasn't so stupid we would protect our firemen more effectively? And, of course, the second most twisted thing about this is the obviously deliberate use of the double-negative which lets the fact slip by that, in fact, the safety equipment was as effective as it could have been under the circumstances.The most twisted part is the effort here to divert the "problem" from the terrorists who want to kill us all to whoever planned the safety procedures.