Saturday, May 13, 2006

United 93

A group of friends and I saw United 93 last night. What a powerful movie! Hollywood actually got it right. United 93 was tremendously well-researched and well-presented. From the depictions of the pre-murder rituals of the terrorists to some of the very men and women from air traffic control and the military replaying that horrible day to the re-creation of furtive phone calls of passengers of United 93, accuracy was the name of the game.

I was most impressed with how down-to-earth the passengers were. Phone calls in the airport to loved ones reminded me how ordinary these men and women were---"ordinary" in the best sense of the word. They were decent people--- moms and dads, husbands and wives, sons and daughters--- who loved their families and just wanted to go home. They had no clue that they would never make it, that there were men who wanted to kill them that day and use them as weapons for no other reason than because they were Americans.

As the plot unfolded, the surprise of the air traffic controllers and the military was portrayed naturally. They had not seen a hijacking for years, and the events of 9/11 were so truly unprecedented that it took them some time to piece it all together, even though they were right on top of the situation the whole time. They were shocked but professional as they sought to minimize the damage to our nation and our people.

The passengers of United 93 were equally stunned by the sudden attack on passengers, a stewardess, and the commandeering of the plane. At first, they were powerless through fear and self-preservation. Of course, they assumed that this was an normal hijacking, as if a hijacking could be normal. They supposed that most everyone would be alright after the initial violence was over. Most hijacking victims, after all, eventually make it home safely. Bravely, they snuck phone calls home and slowly pieced together what was actually happening that morning in our nation. They realized that they were not going to live through this ordeal and worse, would be weaponized against other Americans. Gradually, a plan emerged to attempt to take back the plane from those wicked men.

My own emotions were so varied that it is difficult to sort them out. Primarily, I felt anger, deep anger, that wicked, evil men sought to take the lives of ordinary, decent Americans no different from myself and my loved ones. The fact that twisted souls seek to justify themselves and can warp their logic so greatly as to think that God would approve of their murderous rampages infuriates me, but then evil always does. I have known villainous souls who felt utterly justified in dehumanizing others and using them for their own pleasure and purposes, and I have never been able to wrap my mind around a desire to hurt others, save in self-defense.

Also, empathy flooded my soul as I watched the final phone calls of my fellow Americans who, knowing they would probably die soon, wanted nothing more than a moment to tell their families how very much they loved them. Their last moments were absorbed in this love and the pain of knowing they would not be with their people again this side of heaven.

Lastly, pride was a predominant feeling---pride in the men and women who refused to be mere victims and to go out without a fight. Stewardesses and other women sought to help the dying and to find potential weapons. Men worked a plan to overtake the terrorists and take back the plane. Unlike the typical Hollywood flick, there was no one hero, ready and able to single-handedly vanquish the bad guys. Instead, there was a concerted effort amongst brave men and women willing to work together and do whatever it took to overcome the terrorists. Yes, I was proud, proud of my courageous fellow Americans who determined to be the good who refuse to let evil succeed by doing nothing.

The Americans who lost their lives on 9/11 deserve to be honored and remembered by the rest of us. Hollywood has done an excellent job this time of commemorating the innocent men and women who died that day. We too can show our respect for them by seeing this film and by determining in our hearts that we will never forget them or 9/11.

2 Comments:

At 5/13/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger Ryan S. said...

"Unlike the typical Hollywood flick, there was no one hero, ready and able to single-handedly vanquish the bad guys. Instead, there was a concerted effort amongst brave men and women willing to work together and do whatever it took to overcome the terrorists. Yes, I was proud, proud of my courageous fellow Americans who determined to be the good who refuse to let evil succeed by doing nothing."

I love that!

 
At 5/14/2006 5:58 PM, Blogger AnonymousOpinion said...

I think you nailed it on the head.

 

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