I’m the kind of person who chooses whether or not to do something based on whether everyone else is doing it. In high school, I chose not to wear anything Tommy Hilfiger because all of my classmates wore Tommy clothes (so you don’t miss the irony, I’m writing while wearing my favorite Tommy Jeans). A few years ago, I chose not to watch The Passion, Mel Gibson’s movie about Jesus’ crucifixion, because all of my Christian friends went to watch it (and because I’m not into gruesome violence).
This isn’t much of a segway, but last night Chris and I watched United 93 at the $2 movie theater. I don’t know what most persuaded me to really want to see it, though I suppose I could attribute it to a good review I read in the Springfield Business Journal, the idea that none of my close friends had seen it, and the fact that the videos from 9/11 are still rather foreign to me. See, on 11 Sept. 2001, I was in the middle of a fast from television, and I simply wasn’t glued to the television like many of my friends and family (though I did get in about 30 minutes).
So we’re sitting in the theater watching the movie, and it starts early in the morning with the terrorists saying their prayers and prepping for their day. We watch them go through the airport security (which is practically non-existent) and sit with the people they will soon be entombed with. We watch the air traffic controllers, military personnel, and FAA folks come into their offices for a normal day of work.
As we watch the passengers board the plane, we get clips from the ATCs as they struggle to figure out what’s going on with the first two planes. We watch the ATCs in New York or New Jersey (I’m not sure where they were) watch the second plane hit the second tower. As I’m watching the FAA people try to figure out what to do, and as I’m watching the military personnel try to get their airplanes in the air and get their rules of engagement, I’m thinking to myself, “What the hell has to happen for them to shut down the airspace? Why aren’t they doing anything?”
About the same time, the final passengers board the plane, and the door to the airplane is sealed, and because I know what’s going to happen, I’m thinking, “It’s like their tomb is being sealed.”
We continue to see events unfold on the plane: the hijackers take their time getting into the action; they take over the plane, killing the pilots and a flight attendant; the passengers get wind of what’s happening from their families; the passengers say their final good-byes to their families and friends, as other passengers and flight attendants plan to fight the terrorists.
As they made their attack, I’ve never been so proud to be an American. What other country so enables its citizens to take action in the face of danger? We’ve never gone down without a fight, and that’s what I love about America (regardless of the political situation right now). I think I bruised Chris’s hand as we watched the final minutes of the movie. Those men and women are heroes, and I am thankful for their fight to the end.
I’ve never felt so many emotions during one movie before. My heart raced, I was angry, I was sad, I was horrified. I was speechless at the end. It’s an awful story with a terrible ending, but I’m so glad the director and actors decided it was a story worth telling.
“A zeal for the defence of their country led these heroes to the scene of action, though with a few men to attack a powerful army of experienced warriors.” — Daniel Boone