Tag Archive | "September 11 2011"

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

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It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  My memories of that fateful morning, as did the events themselves, have a surreal quality.  Informed that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers, I never imagined that it was a planned attack – thinking instead that it was some light plane that somehow veered off course and accidentally struck one of the towers.  Watching a cable news program on television immediately thereafter, I was dumbstruck as I witnessed a large airliner strike the other tower!  At that instant, I knew that the world and life as I had known it had changed inalterably.  The news of the subsequent attack on the Pentagon and heroic efforts of passengers and crew who sacrificed their own lives in deterring the nefarious purposes of the terrorists who had hijacked United Flight 93 only served to reinforce my conclusion.


Ten years later, I am sad to say that I was right – the world did change and not for the better.  America has lost lives and treasure as a result of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in attempts to root out terrorism.  And, the cost of those wars has made no small contribution to the sorry state of our economy and national debt.  Yet, the events of 9/11 brought a sense of unity to Americans that had been missing in our nation since the second World War.  Although that feeling may have waned during the last decade, anniversaries, like the one upcoming this Sunday, remind us that the values that we as Americans share far outweigh our differences.


Among the values we share is a deeply rooted love of liberty and equality.  Our forefathers came to this land to escape tyranny and embrace new opportunities.  Embodied in slogans like “manifest destiny,” the American experiment rooted in faith in our Creator became a beacon to the rest of the world.  But, borrowing from the Gospel of St. John, light came into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  And so, a relatively small band of those who hate that for which America stands attempted to strike at what they perceived to be the heart of America.


They failed, for one simple reason.  They did not understand the resilience of the American people.  And now, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, TIME in association with HBO presents Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience, a memorable video collection of dramatic testimonials from U.S. leaders, firefighters, flight attendants, veterans, family members, and, for the first time, survivors who miraculously escaped from above the impact zone of World Trade Center Tower Two.


This moving film focuses on the previously untold stories, captured in words and images, of a group of men and women who led America, moved the nation, and sacrificed for it, in the hours, days, and months that followed September 11, 2001.  Punctuated by archival photos and footage, the film’s real power derives from the expressions on the faces and raw emotions of those interviewed, speaking bluntly about their feelings and experiences, what they have lost, and what has sustained them during the decade since their lives were changed forever.


Fittingly, the documentary airs for the first time on Sunday, September 11th at 8:46 a.m. (ET) – ten years to the minute that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into World Trade Center One.  As part of a multimedia TIME initiative, the full film will also be available on September 11th on a variety of platforms, including HBO.com, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, YouTube, the HBO Facebook page, and TIME.com.


For those of you who vividly remember that day – as do I, as well as those whose memories may have faded, this documentary is one you will not want to miss.


May God grant peace to the souls of all the 9/11 victims, comfort to their bereaved loved ones, and wisdom and insight into His Will to us all.  Amen.




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