There is no clear way to describe the pain and trauma 9/11 attacks caused in the lives of so many. It was a gruesome act of terror which changed the lives of individuals who had absolutely nothing to do with what was happening in Afghanistan or Iraq. Despite being more than twenty years, the wounds of September 11 attacks on Twin Towers and Pentagon have not healed. On the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, the BBC released a ninety minute documentary titled “Surviving 9/11”. Unlike depicting the political and military implications as seen in many terrorist attacks films/shows, it focuses on its impacts on humans. It portrays multiple grief-stricken personal stories of thirteen people who are either survivors or have lost loved ones in the mayhem.
The thirteen interviewees appearing have to recall the emotional distress the incident had caused them. The viewers will hear from Vanessa Lawrence, an artist who worked in the World Trade Centre, reminiscing that she left her office on the ninety first floor before the plane rammed into the building. Lawrence has now moved to Britain where she made a portrait of New York City skyline. Then there is Bill Spade, a firefighter who lost many of his colleagues and still have the harrowing images fresh in his mind. Spade recalled while crying, “There were body parts everywhere, just thrown about the street”. Surviving 9/11 is deeply touching and the interviews are straightforward without any fancy music and unnecessary voiceover. Filmmaker Arthur Cary managed to make the victims and loved ones narrate their ordeal in a way that doesn’t feel coerced.
Malcolm and Matt Campbell, a British father-son duo lost their son/brother Geoff, who used to work for Reuters, a news agency. The pair cope with their loss in different ways. Malcolm visits Snowdonia, a place in Wales, every September as it is the place where he was present when he first learned about 9/11 whereas Matt is drawn toward conspiracy theories to uncover the truth of his brother’s death. The anger among these people is directed toward Osama Bin Laden, in fact a son of a woman who was critically injured in the attacks and suffered life-altering wounds expresses that he wants to torture Bin Laden. Its shocking how one man’s actions and fanatic beliefs changed so many lives.