I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. I woke up at 8:15 am as usual to another beautiful West Coast morning. With sleepy eyes, I tried to log into CNN, but the page wasn’t loading. Thinking it was just the Internet, I briefly looked at MSN. Towards the bottom, I saw something what looked like some new game about blowing something up. Like I said, I was pretty sleepy. About half way through my drive to work, I took out my CD and heard on the radio that the World Trade Center towers had collapsed. What? Not really comprehending, I continued to drive to work. Once there, everyone was talking about it. We heard rumors like there were 50,000 people in each tower and all of them were dead. 100,000 Americans dead – just like that? We were fortunate enough to have a television in our office, so all day; we had people in there watching the terror unfold before our eyes. There were a lot of tears, hugs, and prayers about what happened. Of course, later we learned that less than 5,000 were lost, but that was still a huge amount of Americans to lose to such a senseless act.
That was September 11, 2001, a day everyone will remember. On April 28th, not five years later, the first big screen movie about 9/11 hits the theaters. United 93, for those that don’t remember, was the last in the four flights used by terrorists in the 9/11 attack. Passengers, realizing that other planes had crashed into the Towers and Pentagon, tried to stop the terrorists and the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all aboard. The movie stars relatively unknown actors portraying both the terrorists and passengers. The writer/director Paul Greengrass (known for directing Bloody Sunday and The Borne Supremacy) consulted cockpit recordings, passenger call transcripts, and the 9/11 Commission Report to try to get an accurate account of the story. The movie focuses on the bravery of the passengers. It is shot in real time and some sequences were shot for as long as 40 minutes, uninterrupted, to try to capture the terror felt by the passengers.
President and Mrs. Bush participate in a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville for the victims of Flight 93 on the one-year anniversary of the crash. White House photo by Tina Hager
The big question is – Is America ready for this? I know I am not. I know it has been five years and I was on the opposite coast and didn’t know anyone that died in any of the terrorist attacks. But, this was the single saddest moment of my life. And, I had lost family members (including my mother) prior to this event. I remember thinking I would never again be able to smile or laugh at anything again. Of course, life does go on, but I got to the movies for enjoyment and this just doesn’t seem like an enjoyable thing to me. I only want to relive the events of 9/11 one time each year. That is on September 11th, so I cannot and will not forget what happened to us that day. And on September 11th, I want to see a documentary focusing on the real people who were heroes, not actors portraying them. I am certain will never see United 93.
But then, that is just my opinion. What do you think about this? Are you going to go to the theater to watch United 93?
If you want to watch what I think is the best documentary about 9/11, check out HBO’s In Memoriam – New York City, 9/11/01 at Amazon.com.