Monday, April 03, 2006

UNITED 93 and Facing The Reality Of A Post 9/11 World

After hearing about people objecting to the movie trailer for United 93, I immediately found the trailer online and watched it. I came away from it with exactly the same reaction reported on Bizzyblog, who suggests that opposition to the trailer was "contrived":

Those who claim “we are not ready for this yet” never will be.

I would agree with that assessment.

That is not to say that it was not an incredibly painful experience to watch even a few moments of a recreated account of events from that day.

A few seconds into the trailer, tears were streaming down my face. As the well-crafted scenes played out, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

You should know that I tend to cry a lot at movies--so much so that my husband and daughter often tease me about how sensitive I am. I am rather a sentimental person and a good story always gets to me.

But this was different. What I felt was not just sadness or empathy with a particular character. What I experienced was overwhelming, gut-wrenching grief--a feeling that I have only felt several times before in my life.

Why, I asked myself, is the feeling still so intense four and a half years after the event? Why is the grief still so strong; as strong as it was on the day it happened and I sat transfixed before my television set for days reliving it over and over again.

To answer that question, I suggest considering an analogous situation. Let us suppose that a horrible murder has occurred in a large family. All the family members of the murder victim are shocked and grieved initially; but for some reason, before the grieving process has much of a chance to get underway, a sizable number of the extended family no longer want to talk about what happened and pretend that it didn't. Some feel the victim "had it coming" and that the murderers were justified in killing him. Some develop complicated conspiracy theories about the murder and in their paranoia implicate everyone-- except the actual perpetrators. Some want to honor the murderers instead of the victim.

In such a dysfunctional family, it would be extremely difficult to resolve one's grief.

Every day where I live, I encounter people like the pathological members of that family. People who are in denial about 9/11 and what it means; who are paranoid about the "conspiracy" they have come to believe is behind it; and who are generally unable to cope with, or acknowledge the reality of what happened on September 11, 2001.

They are the same people who scream bloody murder every time the topic is raised; every time the images are shown--as if by squelching all discussion about it, they can continue to pretend that it never really happened. They prefer to view the attacks and horrific deaths on that day as something that wouldn't have occurred if the hated BushHitler hadn't been in office. Intuitively they understand that if they give credence to its reality; and to the resultant war on terror, they would be supporting Bush.

They would rather hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil (except of Bush) and remain in the premillennial darkness of the Clinton years--which is why they will nominate their hero's wife to run in 2008. It will never too late for them to go back to the 20th century on that bridge they started to build but which sadly for them led to some serious unpleasantness.

This idea of going back is so comforting; so soothing, they don't want to examine it too closely. And they don't want to be reminded of something that will destroy their illusion and devastate their hopes.

These people still live in a pre-9/11 universe. They have tried their damndest to prevent the rest of us from moving forward and dealing with the realities--and the grief--of the post-9/11 world. They are still, to this day, trying to drag us back over that bridge to the way it was before.

I don't care how painful it is to face the truth. I won't go back and pretend that 9/11 didn't happen and that my beloved country, which I love with my whole heart and soul, was not viciously and deliberately attacked by people whose greatest dream is its destruction.

If some can't cope with the truth after 5 years, then truth--and reality--is beyond them.

I intend to go see this movie; and I will deal as best I can with the pain, turmoil and raw emotions of that day. I owe it to all those who died. I owe it to myself. And, I owe it to my country.

UPDATE: Sorry, I meant to include this but forgot! View the trailer here.

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