September 2, 2011
One week from tomorrow, Americans will once again take time to reflect on the 2001 terrorist attacks, like they have each September since that beautify Tuesday morning that ended in tragedy. And, if past practice is any indication, much of that reflection will be done in public with the cameras rolling. For those looking for a more personal way to remember the events of September 11, 2001, we strongly recommend The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future app, available now for iPad. Created by noted writer-director Steve Rosenbaum, the app chronicles New York’s World Trade Center before, during, and after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The most refreshing aspect of The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future app is that it spends most of its time discussing the future. In fact, if you’re looking for a place to relive those terrible moments, minute by minute, this isn’t the place to do it. Sure, the app offers plenty of videos from that terrible day, including a haunting video of people taking refuge from the chocking dust once the South Tower fell. But, the app’s biggest strength is how it constructs the timeline following the attacks. The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future app is arranged in four sections: The Past, The Present, The Future, and Gallery. The Past includes fascinating videos showing the original construction of the World Trade Center Towers, plus what daily life was like there. The Day of 9/11, meanwhile, includes six videos from that day. The most moving, in my opinion, is the music video that aired on VH1 that looked at that first night at Ground Zero. The video is set to the song “Overcome” by the band Live. The Present is proof that New York City and our nation in general, is moving forward. Here, you’ll learn about the 9/11 Memorial, including a video about its main architect. The most stirring piece here is video and commentary on the creation of the Parapet, a part of the memorial that lists the names of those who died that day.
Unlike other memorials that list names of the fallen in alphabetical order, the Parapet groups people according to who they were. For example, the names of firefighters are listed next to fellow firefighters, as are co-workers and those who were on the two planes that hit the towers. Finally, The Future reminds readers that the Memorial is indeed a “living museum.” As such, we learn more about the Memorial’s ultimate goal of becoming a “custodian of memory” that will take “on the mantle of moral authority.”
Finally, The Galleries is a one-stop location to access the app’s catalog of photos and videos. In total, there are 400 still photographs and hours of video clips, some of which are available on Rosenbaum’s CameraPlanet archive and 2002 documentary, 7 Days in September. The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future is impressive. As such, it comes highly recommended. If there is one thing about the app worth criticizing it is the inability to view some of the videos. For whatever reason, some simply don’t work. Hopefully, this bug (or whatever it is) will be corrected soon. Best of all, between now and Sept. 12, the app is available for free ($9.95 thereafter) in the App Store.