ABSTRACT

National Park Service: Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks   [open pdf - 4MB]

From the Preface: "The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath left few Americans unaffected. As the federal agency with primary responsibility for protecting and preserving many of the nation's most significant cultural and historic sites, the National Park Service had a unique perspective and role in responding to this tragedy. The most profound personal impact within the Service was no doubt on those employees who either witnessed the attacks firsthand or were directly involved in the immediate response, but every national park was affected to one degree or another. Park Service historians and ethnographers quickly recognized the need to record and preserve the experiences and perspectives of those who had witnessed or responded to the attacks. They conducted more than a hundred oral history interviews with Service employees throughout the country, in parks, regional offices, and the Washington headquarters. These unique interviews reveal the memories and interpretation of the event and aftermath in the words of those directly affected. In addition to conducting interviews, there was also a need to document and evaluate the official response of the National Park Service. With that in mind, I began to research the following questions: How did Service managers and staff respond at the national level and in the regional and park offices? What actions did they take and why? How did the attacks and their aftermath affect the way the Service and the parks operated? How did they affect park resources and the allocation of those resources? What impact did the attacks have on the way park staffs viewed their jobs and the way Americans viewed their parks? And finally, what lessons could the Service learn from this experience? What did the Service's response say about its values and responsibilities?"

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Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/
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pdf
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