Saturday, May 06, 2006


I was so not planning on seeing United 93, but the rave reviews drew me in and I'm glad I went. I found the film fascinating. What fascinated me was not the depiction of events on board United 93, but the way the film traces the unfolding of the terror attacks on September 11th from the perspective of the observers - air traffic controllers, the FAA control room, army headquarters.

The question of how one would react when the totally unexpected happens has always been intriguing to me. How long does it take to figure out what has happened, what other ideas go through your head, how long does it take to believe the news enough to actually take action?

For example - how long from the point of realizing that a plane has hit the World Trade Center and that other hijacked planes are in the air, to the point of deciding to ground all U.S. Air traffic? And how long from that point to the decision to shoot down a civilian plane that is believed to be hijacked? How exactly did the events unfold, and how and when were decisions taken? The film seems to answer these questions. I wonder of their data is correct, but I'm assuming it is.

The almost comical element to me was that CNN was apparently the source of breaking news. Both the army and the FAA had CNN up on their screen, and CNN was the first source of their knowledge that the World Trade Center had been hit... Amazing. Or maybe not.

The most shocking - that almost an hour after the first hit on the World Trade Center, the U.S. Military had only four fighter planes, two without missiles, above the eastern seaboard. If the passengers on flight 93 hadn't attacked their captors and forced a crash, it would have (despite having been 30 minutes late for departure) crashed into the Capitol.


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