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  • Monday Night Football Saved My Life

       September 12, 2008

    I was watching the History Channel's new documentary, 102 Minutes That Changed America last night. The film puts together amateur video & audio in chronological order to tell the story of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In one video, a man talks about how he was supposed to have been on the 38th floor of one of the towers, but he was 15 minutes late for work because he was up late the previous night watching Monday Night Football. Denver beat the New York Giants that night, so who knows how many other people were saved by the pigskin.

    Looking back from seven years, a few things struck me:

    • So many people expressed relief that the attacks were "early" enough that the towers weren't yet full of workers. The attacks started at 8:45 am. In the Midwest, everyone, even people who work on the web, would be in the office. It's just always funny to me how different the rhythms of East Coast life are compared to those of us in the Midwest.
    • There are scenes of chaos and horror videotaped by those who lived around the towers that rarely see the light of day. We're so used to seeing the iconic (god, that's a bad word, but you know what I mean) images of the second plane crashing and the Towers collapsing, but it's frankly shocking to see people jumping, sidewalk planters engulfed in flames and the sheer amount of debris on the ground before the towers came down.
    • One of the videographers is a college student who shot the towers from her apartment window three blocks away. As she's watching people jump from the towers, you hear her trying to convince herself that they aren't people. Maybe it's a chair, she says. Even though I know that it's people, even I, seven years later, am so horrified by what people went through that day that I actually caught myself agreeing with her. Maybe it was a chair. Maybe someone used a chair to break a window and it's just a chair. It's not a person, it's just a chair.
    • One man interviewed people watching the day unfold in Times Square. It's amazing to hear the anger. People were out for blood. We should bomb the whole Middle East to smithereens. The last seven years have tempered that attitude. It's not surprising, but it is kind of ironic to think that part of the President's unpopularity is due to the fact that he's been successful in preventing another attack on US soil. If something had happened in say, 2005, that would have been it. We wouldn't wring our hands over Iraq, Iran, Gitmo or anything else. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing that we have tempered, questioned and agonized over our response to terrorism, it's just funny how the current administration's success in one area has almost lead to their failure in another.

    Anyway, the documentary was absolutely riveting and I strongly suggest that you catch it the next time the History Channel replays it (as an aside, it occurs to me that 9/11 is so the History's Channel's Hitler for the 2000's, isn't it?).

    Posted by at September 12, 2008 07:27 AM

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    #  September 12th, 2008 5:31 PM      Squibbly
    9/11 has been the biggest event to happen in our lifetimes. (Here I am assuming you are approx. my age) It has been the first event for me, that I will always remember where I was when I heard about it, who I saw that day, and the wide range of jumbled, confusing emotions that I felt all day. It is probably much like the JFK assassination was for my parents and Pearl Harbor was for my grandparents.
    #  October 1st, 2008 12:46 AM      Liberty
    I watched that program on September 11th twice and was equally riveted by it's graphic appeal both times I viewed it. My heart still aches when I remember what this country lost that fateful day and how it has changed America indelibly forever. I have a dear friend who worked in the North Tower on the 86th floor who survived the attack and escaped while assisting another man by carrying him on his back. My friend still bears the scars of that day on his legs from shrapnel he can not recall hitting him. His bravery and humbleness at surviving and helping a fellow human continue to amaze me. He is thankful to have survived and I am still moved to tears by his ordeal. He has since moved out of New York and resides across the river in New Jersey only occasionally traversing back to the city. He said that the city has lost it's luster.....I don't blame him a bit.  



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