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A Tragedy Captured in Digital Amber
September 7, 2002
When disaster struck on Sept. 11, 2001, we did what people always do in times of crisis: We reached out to loved ones and others in our communities for reassurance, for news, for dialog. But this was the first national catastrophe to occur in the Information Age, in a world wired for a radical new information-exchanging technology called e-mail. Over the ensuing days, we realized that by responding to these events via e-mail, we were participating in a vital new arena of the national discourse — and that this discourse was recorded, at least for the moment, inside our computers. To preserve this fleeting record of our collective experiences and reactions, Gregory Dicum and Bryan Bell put out a call for people to send them the e-mails from this intense period that had the most personal significance for them. The following are a selection of excerpts from the e-mails they collected, as well as from the e-mail dialog they engaged in themselves.
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