Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93 n' me

I thought I'd take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to mention that I saw United 93 today. Greg did not want to see the movie so I went by myself...and I was incredibly moved and touched.

I know some people feel like its too early to tackle this issue on film, and with all due respect, I totally disagree. If someone feels they are not ready to see United 93, I support your decision 100%, but for me--as someone who was in New York on September 11, 2001--and who now lives a scant 4 blocks away from the world trade center site, I sort of felt like it was my duty to see the movie.

For me this movie was an unbelievable tribute to the amazingly brave people on United Flight 93 as well as everyone else who lost their lives that day. It was a reminder of how our lives have changed since the most tragic event that has ever challenged our country unfolded. And, I guess also my way of saying--to myself--or the world--or the family members left behind from this tragedy, that I remember too.

I walk by the world trade center site often. I'm usually rushed, and late for an appointment and silently cursing the throngs of people that are in the way of my destination. I'm pretty ashamed that I almost never stop to think anymore about that immense gaping hole in the ground as I breeze by on my way to here or there.

Today I saw this film at a movie theater that overlooks the rear of the trade center site. As I walked out of the theater, red faced and puffy eyed from crying, I passed a bank of windows that looked directly down into what turned into the chaos of Sept 11. I stopped for a minute or two to think about that horrific and terrifying day..and how lucky I am that I can go home now and just go on with my boring normal day. The 90 some odd passengers on United Flight 93 (and all of the other hijacked planes) probably all thought they were each going to have normal, boring days too.

I also wanted to mention how impressed/blown away/grateful I was to the nation's air traffic controllers. We often associate 9/11 heroes with fire stations or police squads, but I really don't think enough attention has been given to the air traffic controllers who, on that day, were asked to do some pretty impossible things under an even greater blanket of pressure than they normally assume. It was because of the immediate action and instincts of air traffic controllers that these hijacked planes were identified and through their unbelivable skill and dedication that 4200 planes were, pretty much immediately, rerouted and safely landed. Even more impressive is the fact that many of these key players actually played themselves in the movie.

Though it might not make much sense to those of you who don't want to see United 93, for me, seeing this movie was very much about honoring lost lives, acknowledging this horrible tragedy and standing up to say I remember too.


Anonymous said...

i saw this movie as well this past weekend. and to be completely honest, i haven't forgotten what happened that day. having the person we have in the white house today reminds me every day being that he still hasn't taken care of the cause of this horrible tragedy. i think that's what's really important. if we really want to honor these people's lives, we should remember to vote wisely in the next round.

Leslie said...

I'm interested in seeing the movie too. Like you, I feel like it's my duty to see it. To honor (and remember) the heroes.

Karen said...

I have been afraid of how affected I could be. I grew up at the Jersey Shore- certainly not in the city but close enough that every day on my drive to work that year over the Long Branch train tracks at 6:45AM I saw people heading into work. I know some of the first days' proceeds were donated. If the purpose truly is in honor, I can do it. (I voted otherwise in 2000 and 2004 and never claimed a party but am more of a Democrat every day). Thank you.

kate said...

glad you brought this up. i'm sort of torn about the whole thing. i think the reason i haven't seen this, and that i might not see the oliver stone movie, is threefold:

1. it's hard to watch a movie about it and not be concerned that the people who made it are trying to capitalize on such a horrific thing. even just a little bit.

2. i literally don't think a day has gone by without me thinking about it, and i wasn't even personally affected by anything. my parents live in north jersey and the drive up there affords a view of the skyline, which seems so unbalanced to me now, and makes me sad every time i look at it. i get a bit offended by people with their bumper stickers stating, "9-11-01 - never forget!" i think about it constantly, i don't need your bumper sticker and american flags to remind me, buddy.

3. sometimes feelings of needing to make sense of something can be confused with pure morbid curiosity, like people who surround themselves with it and watch the videos over and over. i'm terribly afraid that a small part of me just wants to see it *because* it's so horrific, not *even though* it's horrific.