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United 93: A Reaction

Mary Katharine Ham saw a screening of United 93 yesterday and has her initial thoughts. Here's a portion:

I saw United 93 yesterday.

I'm not sure if I can use this word as an adjective, but it keeps coming to mind, so here goes. It was shaking. I was shaken. I was shaky. However you want to say it, that's what it did.

It was also, at turns, moving, eerie, creepy, heavy, stark, gritty, exhilarating. I'm not gonna lie. It wasn't easy to watch. But I'm glad I watched it.

Five years after 9/11, I find myself still looking back on it as if it were a bad disaster movie. The images are so fiery and hear-wrenching, they're surreal. I know, intellectually, that it all happened. I know where I was when I found out; I remember calling all my friends in D.C. and New York; I remember looking warily at the clear blue sky every time I stepped outside.

But remembering it doesn't always make the whole surreal thing much less surreal, and I imagine many folks who weren't in NYC or D.C. that day feel the same way. Something that bizarre and weighty and horrible really requires that I just sit down and take it all in sometimes, concentrate on it, to remember that it all actually happened, that there really are more than 3,000 people in the ground because of that day.

Emotionally, that's what this movie does. It brings back that morning in a very real way. All the disbelief, the confusion, the incredulity, the fear, the panic, the sadness, the stunned silence.

Stunned silence. The theater was perfectly quiet when the movie ended. The walk out of the theater was perfectly quiet.

People have either forgotten about the devastation of 9/11 or just don't care anymore. I hope this movie brings the anger from 9/11 back to the surface to remind and redirect us in our mission to destroy terrorism. We can't do that unless we get angry at terrorists again.

Comments (20)

I know that I was brought t... (Below threshold)

I know that I was brought to sudden tears just watching the trailer, where it reads on the screen (and I paraphrase) "40 people sat down as total strangers... and stood up as one people" or something to that effect. Totally suprising was my emotion. With various endorsements from the right, I look forward to viewing this film, in one more effort to "Never Forget".

I hope this movie brings... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

I hope this movie brings the anger from 9/11 back to the surface to remind and redirect us in our mission to destroy terrorism. We can't do that unless we get angry at terrorists again.

I remember my anger from around 9/11. In fact, New Year's of 2002, my group of friends and I stood around a keg chanting "FUCK BIN LADEN". Too bad that anger has been misdirected.

Flight 93 is the real part ... (Below threshold)

Flight 93 is the real part of America the terrorists haven't really learned about. They look at all the times our weak willed politicians turned and ran when previous hit.

Flight 93 showed that average Americans with no particular skills--just average people on their way to do normal things--fought back.

They learned what had happened and fought back.

In roughly 100 minutes a group of average Americans foiled 25% of a well planned terrorists plot.

That's what all the anti-Americans need to learn to fear. Not the US Marines or Army or Air Force or Navy....but the average American on the street who, when pushed too far, will turn on you with a fury and determination you cannot even begin to fathom.

Many do remember, and many ... (Below threshold)

Many do remember, and many are still mad as hell. I'm one.

In fact, New Year'... (Below threshold)
In fact, New Year's of 2002, my group of friends and I stood around a keg chanting "FUCK BIN LADEN". Too bad that anger has been misdirected.

And why is that?

Anger is totally understand... (Below threshold)

Anger is totally understandable. Unfortunately one has to be a willing participant in order to be actually terrorized by terrorists, and we should expect -- no, demand -- more from our elected representatives. Using our anger to further a political agenda is wrong. It is time to demand a change.

And why is that?... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

And why is that?

I assume you mean, why has our country's anger been misdirected? Because we're in a war fighting some of al Qaeda in Iraq, but we're also fighting Sunni insurgents, Shi'ite militias, Baathists, and probably a hundred more various groups, sects, whatever you want to call them that had nothing to do with 9/11.

The Taliban is still around and fighting, bin laden and zawahiri are still alive, the drug trade in Afghanistan has not significantly diminished, and the majority of our armed forces are in the middle of Iraq's political bickering with bulls' eyes painted on their chests.

Bush's talking points are nice for soundbites, but decisions made by civilian leadership, lack of historical knowledge about the region, and dismissing and intimidating professionals (both civilian and military, foreign and domestic) that did not suit the neo-cons worldview has greatly diminished the support we had immediately following 9/11 and weakened our strategic position with dozens of other nations.

These are the direct results of misdirected anger: turning your back on historical alliances to further questionable foreign policy, favoring hubris over caution, ignoring educated scholars because of political differences, challenging people's patriotism and intentions because of blind loyalty, calling anyone who disagrees with the concept of going to war a traitor, etc. Misdirected anger, plain and simple.

No one's accusing you of tr... (Below threshold)
Paul Zrimsek:

No one's accusing you of treason, Sean. Only tunnel vision.

I can't wait to see this mo... (Below threshold)

I can't wait to see this movie.

And I also have a modest proposal for all who do.

Only tunnel vision</... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Only tunnel vision

funny, some might say the same thing about the Bushies and Iraq.

Hmmmm.I a... (Below threshold)


I assume you mean, why has our country's anger been misdirected? Because we're in a war fighting some of al Qaeda in Iraq, but we're also fighting Sunni insurgents, Shi'ite militias, Baathists, and probably a hundred more various groups, sects, whatever you want to call them that had nothing to do with 9/11.

And *Germany* had nothing to do with December 7th, 1941 either.

So what's your point?

And while you're at it why don't you explain why America got involved in Bosnia when nobody from Bosnia attacked America? Is the requirement for American military action restricted solely to direct and singular responses to specific attacks?

If so, that's an extremely ridiculous viewpoint. But if it's yours, then why don't you take the time to fully explain.

Sean ... Let me explain the... (Below threshold)

Sean ... Let me explain the true tie between Saddam and 911

And what you are hearing as accusations of "traitor", are in fact, in virtually all cases, something else entirely. They are a sound the Left-leaning are not used to hearing, since they were the loudest voices in our society for so long ... the sounds of thinking people who will support your right to free speech, even as they exercise their responsibility to declare your speech idiotic, when fact and reason support that conclusion.

Understand this -- any hubris on the part of this Administration pales in comparison to the 30+ years of hubris of their critics, whose knee-jerk aversion to the decisive use of American force made this war not only inevitible, but longer and harder than it need be ...

... yet they continue to harp upon the "cowboys" who have ignored their "expertise" --- yet have liberated MILLIONS.

And, what you call "diminished support" from abroad, I call "exposure of true support" that was hidden behind that war-by-other-means we call "diplomacy".

Today, Iraq formed a unity government ... something the "professionals" said would never happen -- that the Iraqis were too beset with ethnicity, religion, and tribalism to act upon their core humanity and start to emulate our success.

I will admit that this effort could still fail ... but this is progress that the naysayers were in denial about.

They were wrong on this ... and on many other things, for years ... because they confused the pursuit of education, and the achievement of eloquence, with true wisdom ...

... a wisdom that understands the need to swiftly, resolutely, and decisively confront those who perpetrate evil.

Excuse me ... here is the t... (Below threshold)

Excuse me ... here is the true tie between Saddam & 911:


I can't believe people have... (Below threshold)

I can't believe people have bought the whole 9/11 story that the government spewed out. Really.
Well, not everyone has been brainwashed....it's coming, the truth is coming and I can't wait :)

I remember when it all happ... (Below threshold)

I remember when it all happened: it was my birthday. I sat, transfixed in front of the TV, wondering how the terrorists had executed such a perfect plan. I wasn't shocked by the fact that it had happened. I was shocked at the audacity and precision of it. And I had been expecting something similar, though not as spectacular, for some time. Over time, I began to view the 'myth' of flight 93 as simply a patriotic rallying call. This movie might make it exactly that. Who knows? I'm still wary of any attempt to make heroes of anyone involved that day. They were all pretty much victims. In the wrong place at the wrong time. I think it would be infinitely more interesting to recreate the terrorists' side of the story and bring that to the big screen. Not that I support their actions--I'd just like to see how they managed to pull off such a successful attack without ever arousing more than a little suspicion.

Hmmmm.I'd... (Below threshold)


I'd just like to see how they managed to pull off such a successful attack without ever arousing more than a little suspicion.


1. There were no restrictions or oversight put into place concerning people who wanted to learn how to fly large commerical jets.

2. The operating SOP of the day, 9/10-, was for the passengers to be *passive* and not interfere with a hijacking once it is in progress. The SOP was based on the thinking that the hijackers would have a political message and or price they'd ask for in exchange for the release of the hostages and a ticket to a neutral country. So the idea was for the passengers to be absolutely passive and wait for the negotiations to be completed upon which time they would be freed.

This is why Flight 93 was exceptional because they realised that the existing SOP was not correct and that they had to take direct action. This is also why in the 9/11+ world passengers unilaterally will beat the living shit out of anyone who tries this sort of crap.

3. The only cases that anybody expected aircraft to fly into skyscrapers would be in terms of accidents, not intentional.

4. American flight security has sucked, is sucking and probably will suck. There simply aren't enough Air Marshals and there never have been. There are simply far too many large commercial jets flying over America to put an Air Marshal on each and every one of them.


Frankly it wasn't any brilliant stroke of genius. Nor was it any sort of operational excellence that brought this off. It was system of failure created by a combination of sloth, indolence and a failure to recognize that simply because hijackers have acted in a particular way in the past, doesn't mean that they will in the future.

Will there be another 9/11? Not unless it involves a cargo jet and not a passenger jet. If anybody tries another 9/11 with a passenger jet you can be assured that the passengers will take action.

IMHO I think the best thing would be to emulate what happened on an Ethiopian (I think Ethiopian) national airline when four would be hijackers tried to take over the airplane. A security detail aboard stopped the hijacking, captured the hijackers. Then they strapped them to a set of seats and very slowly cut their throats.

I don't think anybody has tried that again since.

I feel this is an insult to... (Below threshold)
Big Sal:

I feel this is an insult to any American, making a movie about a tragedy that surely will generate a lot of money for the producers, not for the families of the victims, and all of you going to see it just because it will remind you of that tragedy, wake up people! A tribute can be a monument! not a movie that will take money from you for the producers! this would be a tribute to those that died on that day if it had a noble cause behind it, not a commercial purpose, I ask you to please stop and think, and you will realize that there are many other ways to make a tribute, and that this is just a way to exploit the American feelings and get rich, if you really want to cry and spend some money towards a good cause then donate that to a charity or an orphanage, and be an individual, do not follow all that people like sheep, be a proud American and learn from that incident, honor those heroes in the way they deserve, and don't go give your money to those Hollywood opportunists.

By the way, if you are real... (Below threshold)
The truth:

By the way, if you are really interested on what happened to the flight 93, it was shot down by a jetfighter, and the passengers did not take it down, open your eyes, look around sometime.

I just saw the movie. I dou... (Below threshold)
T Gisler:

I just saw the movie. I doubt the producer will make much on this movie or that this was his primary motive for making the film. If it was to be a money maker he would have appealed to the larger audience and given them what they wanted; whatever that exaggeration may have been. Also, 10% of the ticket price is going to the families of UAL93 till today. I heard one of the family members on the radio this morning and they were very pleased with how accurate and respectful the movie was to the subject. It was more a documentary than a movie. There was no need to dramatize this subject. It was a look into how the events of 9/11 as well as UAL 93, threw the passengers, the crew, the Air Traffic Control, and the military, into shock, confusion, fear, anger and action. It gave a perspective of those involved. It showed how we were unprepared for such an attack. We have hopefully learned and will not let something like this happen again. I found the Documentary by the two French Brothers "9/11" to be much more "disturbing" since it was all real footage of the event. That was soon after 9/11 and I don't remember anyone complaining about that being "too soon". National Geographic also has an excellent DVD out as well an number of years ago. What I found beneficial about this movie was that it has (will) give an opportunity for those who want to know, the probable story that unfolded relative to flight 93. I know that I always think of the twin towers and the pentagon but not UAL 93. I won't forget it any more. Who knows what may have happened if this aircraft completed its goal? There are those who want to remember those that do not. People remember in their own ways. I personally am glad I saw this movie. I feel we are letting down our guard when we become complacent. We are foolishly opening ourselves up for another strike. I want to make them work very hard for their next one. And I do believe it is coming. Maybe that is the question. Who believes the threat of 9/11 still remains? Are those the people who are going to see this movie? I know we all wish it was a simple situation and had a even more simple solution: But it does not.

DON'T BELIVE THE B.S!!!!</p... (Below threshold)


You belive the plane "vaporized" into the a small hole in the ground with NO RECKAGE and NO BODY's. Are you a moron? Are you stupid? Are you an idiot? Because that's exactly what the government thinks you are.

1. Debri spread out over an 8 MILE RADIUS!

2. The "cell phone calls" were made by a COMPUTER PROGRAM.
A computer can mimic your entire voice pattern. This is not
science fiction, it is SCIENCE FACT. The call's were only a few
sentences each.

3. The familys had to sign a contract saying that they won't talk
about what they heard.

4. The government WONT RELEASE 3 minutes of the tape. Why?

5. It is impossible to make cell phone calls from that altitude.

Why do you think they have to make a multi-million dollar Hollywood film about this? Because they are losing the infowar. People are finding out the real truth about 911, a criminal inside job by people who want to turn our country into a facist dictatorship. ANYONE PROFETING of the deaths of 911 is EVIL PERIOD. Don't pay to see this crap.






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