Last weekend, Dean-o and I settled the kids into bed and decided to watch a movie. As usual, we both wanted to watch different ones… He wanted V For Vendetta and I wanted to watch United 93, a re-enactment in real time of the events of September 11th, 2001 to the one flight that didn’t reach it’s intended target.
There have already been a few movies made about Flight 93… one for the for the A&E channel and one for some other television station. This particular movie was the one that was made to release in theaters and I wanted to see it. I hadn’t seen any commercials for it or anything, but I am one of those strange people who’s obsessed with history and this is one of those things that will one day be tucked right in there and classified as “important history”. I had also realized that there wasn’t much I knew about this flight other than that it was hijacked and intended to crash into the Capitol building or White House and that the passengers had attempted to fight back. Other than that, I knew next to nothing.
V For Vendetta won last weekend so I reserved my movie for another night. Then, a last minute change in scheduling had Dean-o working cq (24 hour duty) yesterday and the whole night was had all to myself. I decided to watch United 93 without him since he hadn’t seemed all that interested.
The movie starts out with the hijackers in their hotel room shaving their bodies and praying. For the next few minutes, the scenes jump from the crew of the flight preparing carts and readying the plane, to the passengers arriving and waiting to board, the pilots engaging in small talk as they walk to their planes, to air traffic control doing their thing, the fueling of the aircraft…. All the crazy, crazy stuff that has to be done to get these things up in the air.
Once everyone is on board and ready to go, the plane gets delayed for about 45 minutes due to heavy traffic. At this time, the hijackers in their seats start to squirm and look nervous until the plane finally takes off. Once they get up in the air, the flight seems to go on as usual for about another 40 minutes or so, the hijackers sort of arguing over when is the best time to “do it” and the passengers oblivious to anything that is happening on land. By this time, two planes have crashed into the World Trade Centers which is experienced all over again by the viewers by way of the scenes with air traffic control who kept losing planes on their radars and not getting responses from the pilots when they were called on. It was very interesting to see how this all started out up their in the booths, the suspicion that maybe a plane has been hijacked turning into other suspicions and then flights missing from their screens. Then, CNN announces that a plane has smashed into the World Trade Center and they think they have found their missing plane. In New York, air traffic controllers watch the Trade Centers with binoculars and stare dumbfounded when a second plane comes out of nowhere and makes contact with the second tower.
At this point, we are also watching this play out from the inside of NORAD and it is really interesting to see how our airmen and soldiers are depicted as all of this is going down. As the wife of a soldier, it’s believable… the dialogue, the people themselves and how they react. Then, they get word that another of the missing planes has hit the pentagon, the first plane to go missing, American Airlines Flight 11 which they had thought had been the plane that hit the first tower. They are still not getting any response from United 93 and begin to make preparations to send jets up and, to be honest, sort of freak out because they need permission from the President to shoot down any aircraft that is flying with the intention of slamming into a building. The President cannot be found and everyone is panicking.
By this time, they are getting no response from Flight 93 for a reason. The hijackers have made their move, one of them entering the bathroom with his carry on bag and assembling a bomb that may or may not have been real, and strapping it to himself. After grabbing a stewardess and killing the pilots, they shuffle the passengers to the back of the plane.
After that is just plain devastating, as people are screaming and crying and having no idea what is happening. Many begin to sneak phone calls to try to get help, say goodbye to family… and at this time, someone is informed that planes have been crashed into the WTC. Word travels quickly through the passengers on board and everyone pretty much comes to the same conclusion: This is a suicide mission and they are all going to die.
Some of the men on the plane frantically discuss that they have nothing to lose and that they need to try to get the plane back under their control. They are going to die anyways so they might as well make the attempt. They get up and make their way to the flight attendant station and inform them to begin boiling water and to pass out anything that could be used as a weapon amongst the passengers. They tell them that they are going to get the plane back and ask if anyone there knows how to fly. One gentleman on the plane is a pilot but has never flown anything but a single engine plane. They decide that he is going to pilot the aircraft and land it with the help of those on the ground and everyone prepares.
A lot of the passengers are still on phones with people explaining to them that the men are going to try to overtake the hijackers. This whole thing is unbelievably well documented since so many people were using the phones and informing people of what was going on.
The movie stressed me out. I felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest the entire time, but once the end was near, I cried like a baby and did my best to fight off the nausea I had. By the time the credits rolled, I was a mess. I was physically shaking and couldn’t breath. I felt sick.
The movie depicts the passengers as taking down one of the hijackers. Another hijacker tries to keep them back by repeatedly slamming them with a cart. They climb over and with much screaming and shouting, take him down as well as that hijacker is frantically trying to get into the cockpit where he believes he will be safe. He doesn’t make it. The plane is speeding up and heading for the ground as the passengers begin to use the cart as a battering ram on the cockpit door. In the movie, the two hijackers left are shouting and praying as the door begins to crumble. The people break through and jump on the hijackers and wrestle to get the controls from them. In the final seconds, you see the crash from their point of view… the ground spinning in front of them like a wall and then darkness, silence.
No one is sure if the passengers made it through the cockpit doors. There was, of course, the little black box recordings of what was taking place in the cockpit before the plane crashed and that was recovered. The strange thing is though, that the plane crashed at 10:06 in the morning and the publicized transcripts of the tape stop at 10: 03. Three minutes are missing or have been silenced… by someone.
After watching the movie, I hopped on line and started researching though the whole mess. I discovered on numerous websites, that there is quite the conspiracy regarding the whole affair. Basically, what eye witnesses said they saw from the ground, the placement of the debris and things that were overheard on the telephone calls were causing people to believe that the military, indeed, had shot down Flight 93. I hadn’t heard this before.
I think I might be convinced, though and I don’t like it. One particular sight I went to was pretty well informed and it seemed had a good amount of knowledge about the situation. You can read the whole thing here if you want to. It makes a very interesting read, I will say that. A lot of questions have been raised. I’m not sure too much of it matters though.
I suppose I can understand the government sending a plane to shoot down Flight 93. They knew it had been hijacked and they knew it was heading towards Washington D.C. with the intent to slam into a building killing thousands of people. The 44 people on board the plane were far easier to sacrifice if that is what really happened. The government is denying this, but if you ask me, I can read this article and easily become convinced that that was exactly what happened.
I am left a little confused. But more than that, this movie and my wee little research afterwards has left me unbelievably saddened for these people, the passengers on this plane. They knew exactly what was coming for them and fought it. They are heroes.
Years after September 11th, 2001 and it has finally kicked in. Where it had been devastating before, sad and angering, now it is more for me.
I am terrified for what’s in store next now that we have made so many more enemies in the world. I pray that they will go easy on us. We cannot stop them any more than we could have in 2001. And now, we have strenghthened their numbers and their determination. When will it come? Where?
We like to say that our leadership has learned enough and is doing enough now to stop this from repeating. The truth is, they can’t stop it at all. I wonder, at this point, if we are just making it far worse on ourselves. It just seems that there were far less tragedies before the “War on terrorism” was born. Perhaps we should have chosen our battles more wisely and left them alone to destroy each other.
It blows my mind how many people out there think Saddam Hussein is responsible for September 11th. I have heard it with my own ears.
“Fuck Iraq! Let’s blow em’ to smithereens! Look what they did to the World Trade Centers!!”
In reality, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with it and the man who did is still out there, no longer mentioned by the media.
But, thank god, we got our revenge on Iraq. Iraq with all the weapons of mass destruction that were never found. America has weapons of mass distruction. We admit it. We have them and so do many other countries. Shit, we were the first and only country to actually use them. Remember? Remember when thousands and thousands of inncocent children were vaporized when we unnecessarily bombed them as they were starting off to their schools in Japan? When this happens, it is no longer political. It is personal. Smaller attacks limited to their military and government would have sufficed. But we had to make sure to take out all those threatening children. Funny. Not funny.
It scares me to watch us poking at the devil with a stick.
Liberation? Maybe. Who really knows what our intent was? Money seems far more likely considering that after we bombed the entire country of Iraq, our companies, businesses and contractors were then sent in to rebuild it and money, money, money was made. However, liberation was not the reasons we were told we were doing this. September 11th happened. The World Trade Centers happened.United 93 happened. There was an enemy out there and we joined together to take them out. Wrong enemy.
I feel sick to think that all these Americans have now become scapegoats, their deaths the excuse to kill thousands more. It is a viscious cycle and one that isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. We die. They die. We die some more, they die some more until what? Until someone finally gives up? What will it take?
I’m scared to know what it will take and what will be sacrificed along the way. I’m scared that I have come to distrust our government so much. I’m scared of the lies. I’m scared of the future.
Back in the day, America unselfishly liberated millions of prisoners who were suffering a terrible ordeal. That was true heroism. We stopped a madman and tried to help those who had already been victimized my him. That was real and it was honest.
Now, we are fighting other demons but for different reasons.
There are honest reasons right in front of us should we choose to look. Africa needs us. But is there money to be made in Africa? Have we anything to gain by helping them?
We had nothing to gain from 1939-1945. We lost a lot from 1963 to 1975.
Now what? Who is America and what does she truly stand for? I don’t know anymore. It is something that has divided our country. Everyone has their beliefs and that is and may be the last, great America left.
Who is the threat? Do we fear America being destroyed from the outside? Perhaps it is being destroyed from the inside. Maybe we are simply setting ourselves up for disaster. Like I said… poking at the devil with a stick.
Maybe we are the devil.
Who’s to know? Certainly not me. Certainly not you.
With so many God’s out there swimming around, fighting each other, who do we turn to? Who do we trust in?
Who will save/destroy who?