Theme memo blog. News, discussion and information about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

As seen by eyewitnesses: Raw 9/11 footage offers stunning views

Horrific. Awestruck. Paralyzing. Stunning. Chilling.

This is just a sample of words often expressed when viewing photographs or videotaped scenes from the morning of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 terrorist strike on the World Trade Center's Twin Towers is one of the most filmed - and watched - moments in history. Some of the gut-wrenching  images force you to look away. Others like the photos shown in recent media reports transport you back to a day when 102 minutes reshaped the lower Manhattan skyline, a thriving community and America's social landscape.

While professional videographers and shutterbugs boldly documented historical moments during and after the  attacks, equally compelling are the videos shot by everyday people fleeing the unknown of Sept. 11. The above videos are a sampling of the footage donated to the 9/11 Memorial Museum's permanent collection by four lower Manhattan evacuees. This powerful and unique footage documents their personal sagas as they witnessed the attacks unfold.

The ambient sound and sidewalk chatter in some of the videos are very powerful. One bystander is heard in the first video saying, "Look, that building is gonna collapse."

Learn more about this donated footage and the armchair videographers who shot it at

By Michael Frazier, Sr. Communications Manager for the 9/11 Memorial