Friday, September 12, 2014

Remembering 9/11

Yesterday I gorged on images from 9/11, starting bright and early with the real-time news on the "Today" show from way back then. I relived the horror along with Katy Couric and Matt Lauer as they watched things unfold, not knowing what would happen next even though I did. I found it thrilling in a perverse way. Still, it was footage I have seen every year for the last 12 years, and so I knew what was coming and there were no surprises. After an hour or so when the second tower finally fell I turned off the TV, hopped into the shower, and didn't give it another thought all day.

But then last night on the History Channel, I happened upon an incredible documentary called "102 Minutes that Changed America." It was a skillfully edited compilation of hundreds of raw amateur videos shot by New Yorkers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time: on Manhattan Island on September 11, 2001. There was footage I had never seen before, having somehow missed this film despite it having won an Emmy after its initial release in 2008.

It was scary and fascinating and intense. It made you cringe and gasp, putting you right there in the middle of things: the smoke, the flying debris, the falling bodies. The brave firemen walking into the death chamber. Thousands of people fleeing the devastation. A true nightmare. What it made me realize more than anything else is that while most of us go about living our merry lives, for others the horror that was 9/11 is not over and never will be, and I'm talking about the survivors. (The dead are dead; that was that for them.)

Anyone on the fence about how our government should handle the current threat posed by the terrorist organization known as ISIS should hunt this film down and watch it. Then decide.

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