August 08, 2006

Are You Ready to Re-Live 9/11?

Tomorrow night, Oliver Stone's new film "World Trade Center" premieres. According to the reviews, the film is a far cry from Stone's left-wing, conspiratorial view of the world. In fact, it is supposed to be a conservative, Hollywood-style, heart string-tugging portrayal of two police officers trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center, fighting for their lives. But I just don't think that I am ready to see it, or to re-live 9/11.

I was deeply affected by the attacks on September 11, 2001. I was born and raised in New York only a few miles from the towers. In the 1980s, I worked at CNN in the lobby of the North Tower. Then the Washington, DC area, one of the two targets of the 9/11 hijackers, became and remains my home. I was sent home in the mass exodus from downtown DC that morning, where I ended up watching the news with friends. I knew two people, including a former girlfriend, on American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon. I have another friend who made it out of one of the towers just 60 seconds before it fell. I have a cousin who worked on one of the high floors of the World Trade Center, who, unbeknownst to us, had a meeting out of the office on September 11. Our family spent the morning trying to locate him. He spent the day, and the next days, trying to locate, and ultimately attending the funerals of, many of his friends and co-workers. Several years after 9/11, he passed away at a very early age, and I am certain that the stress and sorrow he felt due to 9/11 contributed to his death.

I went to Ground Zero about two months after 9/11. I was surprised by the grey dust that still permeated windows, nooks and crannies for many blocks. I also remember the few World Trade Center building fragments, with their distinctive tuning fork design, that remained standing at odd angles like chips randomly stuck in a bowl of dip. But I was most struck by the acrid smell. I tried not to think about what components made up that smell. Some time after that, I was able to shift focus by having a letter published in the Wall Street Journal, about my fond remembrances of the towers in their shining heyday.

Coincidentally, I am heading to New York about twelve hours after "World Trade Center" premieres. The southern approach to New York City, whether by airplane, train or automobile, used to feature the Twin Towers as the first glimpse, a beacon welcoming me. Now Manhattan Island seems like a giant lying on its back, with no feet.

I won't be seeing Oliver Stone's movie just yet. It's still too soon.


At 9:13 AM, Anonymous serena said...

I know I'm not ready, but my husband may win that argument and we may end up going.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I heard something distressing on the radio this AM. A third of people recently surveyed couldn't say what year 9/11 occurred in. How quickly we forget...

At 5:16 AM, Blogger OldMcF said...

Nope. Not ready. It's nice that people can make that movie if they want and that people can go see it if they want, but I wouldn't want to see that. I don't even like watching the commercials.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

"American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon"
conspiracy theorists have something interesting to say about this. i am sure you read it. since now you are saying you actually knew somebody on that plane, that too your ex...wondering what's the fact. the theories are quite convincing, complete with photos.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Ghetufool: I went to my ex's memorial service. Her husband was there, sobbing. Her brother and sister were there, sobbing. Her friends and co-workers were there, sobbing. If she is still alive somewhere, I'd love to know where that is.

If the theorists are saying there should have been some larger hole in the Pentagon, they need to realize that (1) the hole was 90 feet wide; (2)the Pentagon rings are very heavily reinforced, presumably to guard against some type of attack; and (3) airplane wings are made of thin aluminum, hollow and filled with fuel, not much of a match for the reinforced Pentagon rings.

So you can chalk me up in the convinced category.


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