United View

united93.jpgPop culture writer Whitney Matheson recently posted this question on her excellent Pop Candy blog:  Will you see "United 93"? To quote the latest single by Beck, hell yes!

I left a comment on Whitney’s blog that I would like to now reproduce here. It succinctly explains why I’m willing to invest my time, emotion and money to see this film:

Yes, I will see it. When this event happened I obsessed for weeks over it and tried to imagine the details of what happened on that flight. Though no movie can tell the complete story, I’m counting on "United 93" to bring me closer to the experience so I can work through the grief I still feel for all the victims of 9/11. I know that movies tend to present complicated events in neat little packages, but they more than make up for this shortcoming by letting the viewer experience things that would otherwise be impossible.

At first I questioned whether it was right for a studio to earn profits from 9/11 stories, but then I had a thought: Terrorists attack a Western capitalist country they perceive as a threat to their ideology. In the short term, the Western capitalist country is damaged emotionally and economically. Later, this country begins to heal emotionally by making and watching films about the attack. The films make billions worldwide and contribute to the economic recovery. The terrorists lose again!

It’s strange to consider that Emma and Allison might watch this one day from a distance, the same way that I watch movies and documentaries about historical events that occurred 30 or 40 years ago. I wonder what they’ll think? Will the emotional impact still be as great?

I imagine it will. Consider the deep scars left on most of us by the Holocaust. Even people who weren’t even close to being conceived during WWII are dealing with that immense tragedy on some level. Some take it seriously and find solace in gaining knowledge, some joke about it to escape the guilt and pain, some even deny that it ever happened to better serve their modern agendas of hate.

The same is already true of 9/11, and we can expect that to continue into the future. But I lived through it, and I will always remember all the images, stories and feelings. And those experiences are what I’ll teach to my children and their children.


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