Wednesday, April 05, 2006

United 93

I blogged yesterday about the 9/11 film United 93. It's been on my mind a lot since watching the trailer and so I had a quick look to see what others were saying.

Jim Geraghty of National Review-

I can understand if some people say, “it’s too soon. I just can’t watch it.” This trailer feels like a gut punch; your heart is in your throat from the first seconds. This movie has no stars, no flashy special effects. Just a real documentary feel as we see unknown actors reenacting the events of that day - in the airport, on the plane, in NORAD and air traffic control centers. It absolutely throws you back to that morning, and all of the fear, horror, pain and tears that went with that. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find three minutes of film that could be more powerful.

He goes on to quote from the 9/11 Commission report on the final events on the flight, something I think is worth quoting in its entirety-

During at least five of the passengers' phone calls, information was shared about the attacks that had occurred earlier that morning at the World Trade Center. Five calls described the intent of passengers and surviving crew members to revolt against the hijackers. According to one call, they voted on whether to rush the terrorists in an attempt to retake the plane. They decided, and acted.

At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."

The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained.

In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.

Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" A hijacker responded, "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off." The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, "Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!" He then asked another hijacker in the cock-pit, "Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?" to which the other replied, "Yes, put it in it, and pull it down."

The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest." With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington, D.C.

Jarrah's objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House. He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United 93.

And from the (new to me) blog Kesher Talk- the whole post is well worth reading- comes this excerpt of an interview with the widow of Jeremy Glick, one of the passengers on board;

. . . . he told me he thought he was going to die; he said he would respect any decisions I made. He didn’t sound panicked, he didn’t sound angry. He just sounded very, very sad. . . . Then he went into a planning mode. He said there were three guys as big as him-- – Jeremy was a large guy, a little over six feet and 220 pounds; in 1993 he was the NCAA judo champion for his weight class -- and they were thinking of jumping the hijacker with the bomb. Did I think it was a good idea?

I hesitated, then I said, 'Honey, you need to do it.'

He was thinking of what he could use as a weapon, besides his hands. He said, 'I have my butter knife from breakfast.' Which is like Jeremy; he always made a light comment when things were stressful.

He said, 'OK, we’re going to go do it. I’m going to put the phone down. I’ll be right back.'

I just handed the phone to my Dad. My Dad said he heard screaming and then there was nothing. A few minutes went by and then there was more screaming and noise. Then there was nothing. . . .

You can watch the United 93 trailer here.

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