by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

As the United.States attempts to return to normalcy after recent tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., it’s hard not to notice the prevalence of amateur videographers.

More than ever, a significant portion of the video footage delivered to our living room TVs and streamed to our office computers stemmed from amateur videographers.

One such piece of camcorder footage that quickly emerged caught the first plane strike on the World Trade Center, before any network news teams could scramble to focus on the site. A video camera operator, making a firefighter training tape nearby, heard a low-flying jet, and pointed his lens up at the tower, catching the first impact.

Several other amateur videographers recorded high-quality footage of the second plane attack, as well as aftermath footage, including fleeing pedestrians, grief-stricken victims and proud volunteers who sifted through the rubble. Much of this video footage, some shot with consumer-grade camcorders, was later broadcast to the world.

United States astronaut Frank Culberton also contributed footage with his own camcorder as he and two Russian cosmonauts made a pass over the U.S., one day after the tragedy.

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