On the morning of 9/11 in New York City, ordinary people picked up video cameras and recorded. Here, David Vogler describes his experience on the morning of September 11, 2001 as “profoundly unique,” yet not unique at all.

Vogler was among the throngs of New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan who saw smoke pouring from the World Trade Center and wandered out into the streets. What he captured on video were regular people, including himself, processing America’s deadliest terrorist attack in real time.

When the South Tower collapsed, Vogler describes the “tornado” of “pulverized rock, metal and cement” that devoured Lower Manhattan “like a serpent.”