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Monday, May 01, 2006

United 93: Reflection on a Nightmare

I cannot decide whether or not I will see this film.

I want to see it. I consider the people on that airplane to be heroes. Sure, they wanted to try and save their own lives but there is enough evidence to make it clear they knew the airplane was on a deadly mission that day.

On the morning of September 11th, shortly before 8:45 a.m. I was on the No. 1 downtown train to Times Square. Our train was held up for about five minutes prior to entering Times Square station. We didn't know why. We didn't know the first plane had ploughed into one of the World Trade Center Towers.

Once I got out of the subway and headed to my office at HBO, I heard on my walkman that a "small plane" had crashed into one of the towers. I looked up at the bright blue, clear sky and figured the pilot of the plane must have had a medical emergency and lost control of the plane.

As we all know now, there was much more to it than that. I watched the television at my office and watched the events unfold. When I saw that the Pentagon had been attacked and other airplanes were unaccounted for, I panicked. My mother, aunt and her daughter-in-law were all visiting the White House that morning. I knew from talking with my mother the night before they were already on the tour as all this was going on. As the towers smoked, wobbled and finally collapsed, I was punching buttons on my phone, trying to reach my mother by cell phone.

I was listening to the pundits surmize that the attackers had probably targeted the White House. There were planes still unaccounted for out there.

Was one of them going to plough into the White House?

Was my family going to be among the dead or injured?

90 minutes after the first plane crashed into New York City, I finally reached my mother. She had been evacuated from the White House, along with my other family members, and was on her way via train heading out of the city. She told me that upon leaving the White House, she could see cars pulled over to the curb, doors opened and radios blaring the awful news.

I was never so scared in all my life as I was that day. I was afraid that my family was going to get killed. Even though I was sitting there looking outside my window at the Empire State Building, wondering if a plane was going to strike there, I didn't even contemplate if that happened I could get killed as I was just six blocks away. The panic was about my family.

I did send a note to the widow of the man who cried "Let's roll" on United 93 before they attacked the terrorists who had commandeered the aircraft. I wanted to express to someone that the change of track of United 93 that day may well have saved the life of my mother and other family members.

I was profoundly grateful and have yet to stop saying prayers for those who lost their lives that day, especially those on United 93. My indecisiveness about seeing it stems from not wanting to relive that day when I nearly lost a part of my family - and not wanting to see what led to the moment when so many others lost their loved ones.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, hon. My mom and aunt, too. AND my wife. This accounts for my deep and abiding hatred for terrorists, those sub-humans who prey on non-combatants. If I ever, by some gift from the Universe, encounter one, I will do whatever I can to introduce him to Allah in as violent and expediant a manner as I can deliver. God grant me the strength..
Politically incorrect ? Hell yes. Semper Fi !


Bruce said...

As you'll see from this link, there has already been a movie made about that event. I saw it and it was quite gripping. The actors went on Larry King and a few relatives of the people who died on that flight made some comments. Now, I was surprised when I learned there was ANOTHER movie been made about the same story. I don't get it. Why two? What can possibly be different in the second one? I won't go see it as I saw the first one and the second one can only be more of the same. I can't say I enjoyed the first one, but I did want to see it. It's tough, and I think the story needs to be told, even though we don't know everything about it since most of the audio is kept confidential.

~Jackie~ said...

I had just arrived at work when I found out about a plane crashing into one of the towers. I was shocked so I went into the operations room [I worked for the FAA, Flight Service Station] and we were waiting for word about what the National Air Traffic System would do. All morning, the Air Traffic Controllers hustled to bring planes safely to the ground and keeping others from taking off. In my job, we had to talk to the pilots and inform them the National Air System [NAS] was close and absolutely NO aircraft was allowed to take off of any airport. Then directives were issued which we had to inform the pilots of and we are STILL telling pilots about the special warning areas, etc. Our lives were forever effected by that one day.

Will I see this movie? I don't know. Part of me thinks its important for people to know what happened but if anyone was awake that day and weeks afterward, watching TV, reading newspapers, getting online, they KNOW what happened. It just seems like hollywood is trying to make a buck of this event which bothers me.