2005_08_tapes.jpgAfter trying to get access to the tapes three and a half years ago, the NY Times reports that the city will finally release reports of oral histories from the FDNY and emergency workers. The Times writes:

The histories - a mosaic of vision and memory recalling the human struggle against surging fire, confusion, and horror - were compiled by the New York City Fire Department beginning in October 2001, but to this date, no one from the department has read them all or used them for any official purpose.

The 911 tapes from the day are also being prepared. When the Bloomberg administration refused to release the records, the Times sued the city and the Court of Appeals ordered the records' release. It's a fascinating case of how the city is trying to control things: It first argued that the records could not be public because it might affect cases against terrorists, and then it later said the reports would "violate the privacy of the dead, or cause emotional distress to the living." The histories will certainly be harrowing, but they are important for the very reason by they were first created, at the urging of then Fire Commissioner Thomas Van Essen: They represent what really happened on that day, versus being a hazy "collective memory."

The NY Times' coverage of September 11.