On September 11, 2001 I was 18 years old and in my final year of high school. I was in English class mildly engaged in the customary 20 minutes of ‘journal/reading’ time. We began each class that way I suspect to allow our teacher time to surf the net and catch up on current events.
That was how I found out the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Our teacher stood up from her desk and told us what she had read online. We thought what many thought in the early moments of that terrible attack. Perhaps it was just a freak plane crash?
It wasn’t long before the second plane hit the Twin Towers and the world realized what was happening. Class didn’t matter for the rest of that day. Every conversation was dominated by the people who lost their lives that fateful day.
That night, my volleyball team was supposed to play but the games were cancelled. It didn’t feel right anyways. I spent that night glued to the television trying to make sense of a senseless act. In the coming weeks, the name Osama Bin Laden became infamous.
In the years that followed, there were several adaptations of that horrific day. Stories told from many heart wrenching perspectives. Unbelievable stories about courage but also loss.
I’ve seen them all but none of them affected me quite like Zero Dark Thirty.
THE DAY THEY GOT HIM
On May 2, 2011 I was 27 years old and working in television. During my shift news broke that American soldiers had killed the man responsible for 9/11. It was another day when sports (I work in sports) didn’t seem to matter. This was bigger than any story. In a way, I got a small glimpse of what it must have been like in newsrooms around the world that night. (HBO’s The Newsroom captured that night perfectly. If you haven’t seen that show, I highly recommend it.)
To a certain extent, a major chapter in our history had ended. Yet, to this day, victims and family members still suffer. It’s still impossible to comprehend the magnitude of what was lost that day in 2001. Time has distanced us from 9/11. I’m lucky to have been far away from the attacks. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people connected directly (or indirectly) to the crashes.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
I’m nearly 30 now. Recently, I got my chance to see Zero Dark Thirty. In my review, I wrote about the true stories we will never forget. Since then, I’ve come to realize just how long ago 9/11 was.
Growing up, I always found true stories fascinating. They had a unique element of discovery because I wasn’t alive when the real events unfolded. Argo is another example of this. It’s a phenomenal movie because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Arguments can be made about the historical accuracy of these films but they still opened my eyes to stories beyond my years.
Zero Dark Thirty gave me an entirely different perspective on cinematic true stories. For the first time, I truly realized the impact a story can be when you can picture exactly where you were when it happened.
Suddenly, over a decade flashed before my eyes. I’m getting older now and stories depicting our world from 1983 forward are resonating more and more.
The combination of getting older and thinking about such a tragic event really makes you cherish every day even more. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since that day. It makes you appreciate what you have. I’m lucky to even have the opportunity to watch movies on a regular basis. That’s the key. Know where you’re lucky and appreciate everything you’re lucky enough to love. Friendship, love & passion. Three things.