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‘United 93’: A Film for All Americans

Honoring those who sacrificed to save others

This past Friday I went to see "United 93," the movie that dramatizes the events in the flight-control offices and aboard the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and appears to have been destined for the U.S. Capitol building.

I wasn’t really planning on going to see it, as I was initially skeptical as I am sure many of you are about having a two-hour film try and encapsulate the biggest tragedy our country has experienced since the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Politics aside, I believe it is wrong to gin up emotion through short, visual propaganda as a means to a political end, and for that reason I went into the movie with such an expectation in mind, not knowing what reaction I would have.

I can now say, from the bottom of my heart, that I would strongly recommend this movie, no matter which side of the political spectrum you reside.

I know there are those who are rolling their eyes and are still intent not to watch it, either because they have no interest or because they think it is too soon. Even though I still remember when the World Trade Center was hit like it was yesterday, I am a completely different person now than I was five years ago. It has been almost five years since 9/11, almost half a decade, and I have to admit that the closest feeling to what I felt last Friday was when it actually happened, so to say it is too soon I believe is a bit hasty.

The feeling that swept over me when the movie ended was like nothing I had felt before — every person in the sold-out theater was utterly silent, many with tears in their eyes (including me), and it seemed like we all came together for a brief moment in the mourning of those who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others.

The movie made no attempt to blame anyone, but merely sought to preserve the true events as they occurred; everyone cannot help but feel proud of those who lost their lives on that plane — and hope that we might act in the same way given their limited knowledge of what was going on around them. The focus of the movie is not on the terrorists, but rather on the fact that 40 or more utter strangers united and overcame what proved to be insurmountable obstacle for three other ill-fated planes that day. Their heroism transcended any hatred or bias I or the audience might have had toward the hijackers — a heroism that, unfortunately, I had not fully realized or reflected upon until I saw "United 93."

People may hate President Bush, hate how the government failed to act decisively, hate our foreign policy, but this movie puts such sentiments aside and reveals the true essence of what those people were standing up for, which is the right to live your life under your own accord.

That said, when I watched those aboard Flight 93 stand up against the terrorists, it wasn’t a clash of civilizations or a clash of religions or anything of the sort — it was 40 civilians standing up for what they knew was right. My comments would have been the same had the terrorists been white, black, Christian, Hindu or Scientologist.

Any decent human being will agree that what the terrorists did was completely and utterly wrong, and all that our fellow Americans did in that short moment of time was stand up for what they believed in — the right not to die without a fight — nothing more. As an American, I strongly urge you to see this film, because it puts in perspective what normal people have the capacity to do when they look inwards and sacrifice themselves to save others, and that alone makes the movie completely worth it.

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Mr. Sorock works at a law firm in Chicago.

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