Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering Today: 102 Minutes That Changed America

It was senior year in high school, we were in AP English when a teacher walking by told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember being confused, not being able to fully comprehend what happened or understand the gravity of the situation. Less than an hour later, in AP Calc, a classroom of 20+ high school students fell silent and watched in horror as the second of the two towers fell. The world was never the same again.

I don't have to explain what today is, and what it means to people. Whether you were directly affected by the events of September 11th or not, you have to admit that it completely changed EVERYTHING we know. Tonight, the History Channel airs a documentary called "102 Minutes that Changed America," at 9PM without commercial interruption. The documentary was produced solely using video and audio sources from real people who were shooting as the events unfolded. The clips are shown in sequential and chronological order, and without narration or commentary. Over the 102 minutes, we get different perspectives of different people in different locations, all witnessing the same terrifying event happen before them.

The entire documentary looks like scenes straight out of Cloverfield, but the pure panic, fear, and confusion in people are all too real. There is an interactive map with clips on the History Channel 9/11 minisite; the NYU dorm clip was particularly affecting for me. These clips are not easy to watch. In fact, they're absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking. But as difficult and painful it is to watch, this is a powerful historical archive that permanently documents the significance of the events of 7 years ago- for those of us who lived through it, and for future generations to see.


sang said...

I missed the documentary that day, but they replayed in yesterday. Very well made.