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Recording the stories of the victims of terrorism

Sunday, September 10, 2006

As we near the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, we look at how the events of that day are being recorded for history.

The "Story Corps" and all its recorded history of the World Trade Center it is available to survivors, first responders, and especially the family members of the victims. It's a place where they can speak about their memories, and record their thoughts and their raw emotions of the horrific day.

Alison Crowther's husband: "He was born on Tuesday. He died on Tuesday. His body was recovered on a Tuesday. He was truly Tuesday's child."

Alison Crowther on a Tuesday sat quietly as she listened to the recordings she and her husband made about their son Wells. The 24 year old died on 9/11, but his memory and his story will live forever thanks to "Story Corps," an organization with a simple goal.

David Isay, Storycorps: "To record at least one story for each of the 2979 people who perished on September 11th, 2001 and on February 26th, 1993."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "It is an ambitious goal. As time marches onward, I think it is increasingly important one."

Story Corps has recorded more than 150 interviews with friends and family members. Additionally, 153 survivors and rescue workers have also recounted their personal experiences of 9/11. All of those stories and all of those memories will eventually go in the World Trade Center memorial, so future generations can personally hear and learn from this oral history.

Ms. Crowther: "It is changing people's hearts when they hear the story. It makes them more caring, more committed to helping, serving their fellow men"

It is in a sound proof both at the World Trade Center PATH train station where the living memorial to the 9/11 victims began, a trained facilitator helping to start the interview which lasts 40 minutes. Some times, a pair of family members interview each other. Upon completion, family members receive a CD of their recording, another copy is archived with the Library of Congress.

During the interview, Russell Siller remembered his brother Steven, a fire fighter who on 9/11 ran through the closed tunnel to the twin towers. The 38-year-old died a hero.

Russell Siller, victim's brother: "Steven was 24 years younger than me. He was a special baby, youngest of seven. My parents died when he was 10. They died a year apart."

One participant said, "When you start talking, you hit area of emotions you don't hit when you write or say something off camera. It is a good experience."

All of the family members said they felt a tremendous sense of relief and release after recording their loved one's story. They encourage other families members, survivors, and volunteers of 9/11 to do the same.

(Copyright ©2014 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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