If you turned on the TV this past weekend you couldn't escape coverage of the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on this country. There was one program in particular that I wish everyone could have seen...one that schools should consider showing all students.
I don't make it a habit of recommending watching television shows. But the documentary, "102 Minutes That Changed America," on the History Channel is must see TV.
The Emmy Award winning documentary, which first aired on September 11th, 2008, re-aired this past weekend. The documentary puts you at ground zero as if you were there. It does this by using amateur video by people on the ground, in apartments, and nearby businesses as the tragedy was unfolding. It pieces the video together, unfiltered in real time to give you an account of the horror of that day. There is virtually no commentary from news anchors, just video and sound from the people there. It is a whole new perspective of 9/11, the realization of those on the ground about what was happening and the response. And it does it in a way that makes you feel like you are there. This isn't video of ground zero after the attacks happened, this is the chilling story of it actually going on.
My fifteen-year-old son happened to walk into the living room while I was watching the documentary. I left it on for awhile and then decided to turn the channel fearing some of the graphic nature of the video. He told me to turn it back. It was at that moment that I realized how important this program was.
My son was in the first grade when 9/11 happened. He, like many others, have certainly watched stories over the years about what happened. But I think even he was surprised about what he was seeing, because it was like he was experiencing it, just as those old enough to remember it did. And it occurred to me, even seniors in high school were only in the third grade when 9/11 happened. They too certainly know what happened, but only through news stories.
If you are old enough to remember 9/11, you know the uneasiness, panic and concern you felt that day. While I don't wish those feelings on anyone, this video certainly brought that all back unlike anything I have watched. It is for that reason that this is an important piece of television...a real education and service schools could do for their kids and this country by showing it.
The video is a horrifying reminder that we, as Americans, have real enemies in the world...and they are not each other.