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College teachers record thoughts on 9-11 for Library of Congress

William Ferchland, Appeal News Service

Four people at Lake Tahoe Community College had their audio recollections of the terrorist attacks of 2001 chosen for submission at the Library of Congress, which collected more than 300 hours of thoughts and beliefs of citizens across the nation.

Scott Lukas, chair of anthropology at the college, recorded accounts of about 20 students, teachers and faculty at the college. Some lasted an hour, others 10 minutes. Sue Kloss, a biology teacher; Bic Olsen, a mathematics teacher; Max Stein, a student and adjunct faculty member and an assistant manager at the bookstore were picked. They were included in the regional, ethnic, socioeconomic, and political diversity of the United States in the fall of 2001, project officials said.

A similar call went out Dec. 8, 1941, when Alan Lomax, who was in charge of the Library of Congress’ Archive of Folk Song, sent a message to field workers to collect thoughts regarding the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war.

Lukas received an e-mail from the American Anthropological Association describing the project for scholars to interview people. He started by writing questions, including the standard “Where were you?” to “How much media did you watch?” and “How do you think the United States should fight the war on terrorism?”

He transferred the 30 hours of recordings to disc and sent it to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. With some minor mathematical work, Lukas determined that Lake Tahoe Community College has more than 5 percent of the recordings.

“In these turbulent times following Sept. 11 our community can do what many cannot: react to tragedy with courage and educational commitment,” Lukas said. “I personally believe that it is important that we continue this tradition by doing what we do so very well: educate ourselves and others.”