From the Naudet brothers’ immortal documentary. The first four anniversaries are too close to the bone and the fifth anniversary is “special” as only round numbers can be, so the sixth is the one where people finally feel safe in saying that the event has receded a bit in their mind. That’s true for me too, although in an odd way: the further away it gets, the harder it is to watch the footage. I watched CNN’s as-it-happened webcast last year but had to turn off MSNBC this morning when they did the same thing. Beyond a certain point, the bulletins turn into a snuff film. Also, there’s something narcissistic about reliving it through the news filter; for me, at least, it’s now less about what happened inside the Towers than my own experience of watching TV that day.

So here’s the antidote. The first clip puts you in the lobby next door to the South Tower shortly before, during, and then after the collapse. The second clip takes place a half hour or so before that, as the FDNY reacts to strange noises they’re hearing outside in the plaza. I apologize for the distasteful repetition in the video; it was cut by a Truther as “evidence” that the sounds they were hearing were actually bombs going off, so they replay the footage three times in each case to give you a better chance to hear. Various firefighters told the Naudet brothers at the time what the actual cause of those noises was.

For your reading pleasure afterwards, here’s Newt Gingrich’s alternate history of the war on terror after 9/11, an exercise not so much in “what we should have done” as “wouldn’t it be nice if…” Sample: “There were a series of Hollywood films and made for television films explaining the enemy and the scale of hatred and planning for violence against civilians.” Good luck with that, pal.

The next “special” anniversary will, of course, be the 10th, when the punditocracy will engage in the mother of all navel gazing about “where we are now” and “what it says about us.” My skin’s already crawling at the thought.

Update: The BBC “explains” the attacks. To children.

Update: Thanks to Slublog for finding a non-Truther version of the second clip.