Today is the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, along with the downing of United Flight 93. Anniversary is not the right word since that indicates celebration and this is more about remembrance. September 11, 2001 changed the United States forever.
Peacock streamed a documentary on their streaming service called Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11. Responses from survivors, family members, first responders were recorded a year or more after the events of the day. These people were given the opportunity to speak about their experiences and their feelings dealing with 9/11, talking to a camera inside a small plywood booth video box.
Directed by David Belton and Bjorn Johnson, some of the original interviewees returned now to reflect on what their lives have become and how the world has changed.
Narrating the events of the day through the words of the real people involved brought a power to the stories that are already one of great impact.
Living in the Midwest, the effects of 9/11 were still felt, but they were modulated by distance. I remember the day clearly, as I was substituting at the Middle School in computer class. A co-worker had come in and told me about the first plane striking the building, and it was surreal. We spent the day watching the news in the classroom, including seeing the second plane strike the tower. The day was wild and chaotic, even in the little town of Iowa where I lived. I can’t imagine what it was like in New York City or in Washington D.C.
This documentary really shows the world what it was like on that day for real people. In their own words, it allowed us to understand just a little but more about the pain and tragedy of the day.
The reflection on how the country has split over the last two decades since the attack is another powerful moment of the doc.
It is sad how our country has squandered the connection that our country had after the attack. We were all Americans and we were all New Yorkers. Now, we are so divided that some are in fear for our democracy. How can we get back to the memories of how we once were.
The ending of the doc brought us some hope, some acknowledgement that we can survive the pain or the loss and still be okay.
“Make your life extraordinary and fill it with passion,” -Donn Marshall, husband of Shelley Marshall, a victim of the Pentagon attack.