In remembrance of September 11, “The Flight that Fought Back,” was shown in the Interfaith Chapel on Sunday.
The documentary was a Discovery Channel special-showing about Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa. on Sept. 11.
Two of the 33 passengers on board were Class of 1993 graduate Jeremy Glick and Class of 1969 graduate Jean Paterson.
“It brought back a lot of emotional memories for me,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said. She spoke before the documentary about her experience after
Sept. 11, how the community came together. “I will always remember a freshman spoke about how things changed on her hall. People left their doors open,” Asbury said.
The event was co-sponsored by the Alumni Office, the Interfaith Chapel and Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity. Glick was a member of ADF.
“I am very proud that an ADF was able to take control and help make the situation better,” ADF Philanthropy Chair and sophomore Matt Adler said. Adler helped coordinate the co-sponsorship. “We all really enjoyed the movie. We thought it was very moving and extremely sad, but at the same time it was very inspiring how the people fought back.”
The 100-minute documentary detailed the path that Flight 93 took, and how the passengers were able to work together to stop the terrorists flying the plane before they reached Washington D.C., the suspected target.
“The film did a good job painting a picture of real people,” Director of Chaplaincy Services Laurie Tiberi said. “It didn’t demonize the terrorists. I don’t think that was their agenda. It was balanced and moving without attempting to push on peoples emotional buttons. I heard a lot of sniffling.”
Starting on the morning of Sept. 11, the film described each passenger – why they were flying, why they ended up on Flight 93 and who they were.
“It personalized everyone on the flight in a very dramatic way,” Father Brian Cool said. “It really humanized the people and said a little bit about who they are. The imagery was all so familiar, too. I was looking at the seat covers on the plane and remembering how many times I have sat in those same seats. It was very moving.”
When the terrorists hijacked the plane, less than an hour into the flight, the passengers began calling their families and loved ones and eventually found out about the terror that was going on throughout the country. Those family members were interviewed throughout the film.
“I kept thinking, if I was on the phone, what would I have said to my loved ones,” Hillel Program Director Joel Kleinberg said. “In your head you’re thinking, 3,000 people died [on Sept. 11] but this really gave them a name and a face. [Glick] was a member of the Hillel community, and this definitely made it much more personal.”
The passengers decided that they needed to work as a team to stop further terror. They gathered tools that they could use as weapons and charged the cockpit of the plane.
The voice recorders from the cockpit were never released due to on-going criminal investigations, but the family members were allowed to listen to them.
They all described a muffled struggle, where the cockpit door was eventually opened minutes before the plane crashed.
“I am sad and proud that two UR alumni were so brave on that flight,” Asbury said. “None of us know what we would do in a situation like that.”
Students who watched the documentary, in the Interfaith Chapel or on the Discovery Channel a few hours later, had similar emotional reactions of disbelief and sadness.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” junior Rob Fitzgerald said. “It was very personal. Everyone was very respectful and at the end of the movie it was just silent. I was talking about it afterwards with my friends and we all thought that the movie stirred up a lot of emotions.”
Kleinberg concluded the event with a reading from the Yisger Memorial Service of Yom Kippur.
“They shall not be forgotten. We take them into our hearts and give them a place beside the cherished memories of our own loved ones. They now are ours,” he said.
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