It's been pretty much impossible to avoid 9/11 commemorative and memorial programs on TV this past week, and if that's the case here in Sweden, I can't imagine what it's like back home in the U.S.
I've been trying to steer clear of them because nine years on, images from that day still upset me. I was working for the news service of a major midwestern university at the time, and we always had a TV on and tuned to CNN…so I watching when the 2nd plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.
My colleagues and I realized immediately that it was a terrorist attack, and because we had a school of aviation, we had to got to work immediately connecting our faculty experts with journalists. Good thing we were busy because we sure weren't going anywhere. The university's Schools of Engineering had a nuclear reactor, making us a high-probability target for terrorists, so the entire campus was locked down. I had no time to think about the fact that I had a cousin working at the Pentagon (who, I found out later) was mercifully not on duty that day.)
I still remember it like it was yesterday and really don't need a TV documentary to remind me of that tragic day. But Dr. Darling and I were channel surfing the other night and came across what looked like amateur video shot in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001. There was no commentary or voice-over, no additional information on the screen except for a time stamp…and we could not take our eyes off it.
We found out after it was over that were were watching 9/11 Attacks – 102 Minutes that Changed America, which was produced in 2008. It's a collection of raw video, shot mostly by amateurs, showing events as they happened in real time. It was one of the most compelling things I've ever seen and three days later I still can't get it out of my head.