Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93

It was a tough 111 minutes.

I saw United 93 today -- the movie about the passengers and crew of the fourth plane hijacked on 9/11.

Went to Potomac Yards to see it -- the theatre closest to the Pentagon.

I have to agree with the reviewer for the Washington Post:

"United 93 is a great movie, and I hated every minute of it." -- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post review of United 93, 4/28/06
I caught myself hoping the film would end differently than the day did.

I caught myself punching my fist into the palm of my left hand, leaning on the edge of my seat wanting to help the people on the screen. I heard people in the audience sobbing.

I caught myself wondering how a foot soldier in Sam Houston's army would have reacted if he'd seen John Wayne playing Davy Crockett in "The Alamo?"

Flight 93 Survivors

The film ends with a notation that there were no survivors on the plane. But there were hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of survivors on the ground because of those 40 people.

I am one of them. I was on Capitol Hill on 9/11.

I've been ridiculed for thanking the passengers and crew of United 93 for likely saving my life. Those who ridicule the thanks of "Flight 93 Survivors" are small people. Not like the giants flying to San Francisco on 9/11.

The passengers and crew deserve my thanks - the thanks of everyone at the White House and Capitol that day - and the thanks of "a grateful nation."

Thanks in Silence and Sobbing

In a small way, I heard those "thank yous" repeated today -- in the silence after the movie ended. The audience filed out as if it were a funeral.

And I saw the "thank yous," too.

There were three middle-aged men. They had that look you pick up on: the haircuts, the way they wear casual civilian clothes with a formality that lets you know they'd been career military. That close to the Pentagon -- you have to wonder if they didn't work there -- worked there on 9/11.

They were big men.

They stared quietly at the closing credits. Tightly holding hands. Tears on their cheeks.

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