Thomas Hoepker: On that day five years ago, sheer horror came to New York, bright and colorful like a Hitchcock movie. And the only cloud in that blue sky was the sinister first smoke signal of a new era.

Thomas Hoepker/Magnum

See The meaning of 911’s most controversial photo @ Guardian.co.uk, as well as Frank Rich Is Wrong About That 911 Photograph @ Slate.com. Every time I look at it, I can’t help but think of Le déjeuner sur l’herbe.

Jonathan Jones: Stendhal similarly captures the dissonance of history in his novel The Charterhouse of Parma. A young man volunteers to fight for Napoleon at Waterloo, but instead of a defining moment of courage all he experiences are random, marginal, meaningless accidents on the edges of the great day.