9/11: One Day in America is an official collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, as a documentary series which focuses on the tragic moments on the morning of September 11th 2001. Stories told by truly incredible survivors of the attacks.
Number of Episodes: 6
Episode 1 – First Response
Episode 2 – The South Tower
Episode 3 – Collapse
Episode 4 – The Cloud
Episode 5 – I’m Coming for You, Brother
Episode 6 – It’s All Gone, Kid
In the UK this documentary series was screened on the National Geographic channel.
Each episode was in a timeline of events that happened between certain times and linked in with the stories as told by survivors and everything then went through on that fateful day. When listening and engaging with these stories you would never really think that it happened twenty years ago with how vivid the memories are for each person. The mixture of archive footage with the new interviews, especially showing the different people from the events. This could have been interviews back from 2001 or just having them in the video footage.
Something I truly adored about this documentary series was hearing about some truly amazing moments and stories, that give you hope. Hope that love and kindness will always win and terrorist will never be able to take that away from the world. I lost count rather quickly at how many times I found myself crying and choked up watching the different stories unfold, and that was not only due to the sadness of the death but also because of those lovely moments that then happened as a result of one person helping another person.
During the first episode we get the stories from the first firefighters who are on the scene and how they race to evacuate to the trapped people from the North Tower. At this point it is very clear that everyone just thought it was a terrible accident and a terror attack wasn’t really thought about. The firefighters explaining how everything felt and how people were just frozen in the streets. They had to do everything they possibly could and at times this really meant that they had to shout at people and order them to move and climb in or out of buildings/places and I never really thought before about how important that would be.
Nothing was spared in terms of attempting to condense any of the stories these truly remarkable people were telling and that is another aspect that I truly loved about how this was all put together. Knowing that it was officially from the memorial and museum gave it an added bonus that the victims families would be fully behind this as well as those who still carry the scars from that day.
So many small aspects I had never actually thought about before, parts of this may sound very stupid but you don’t think about the smaller details, the focus was on the planes crashing and the death, firefighters being first responders with ambulances and police on the site. The fact that the heat from the crash and planes would be felt on so many floors, the smoke that filled everywhere and then the collapse of the towers causing even more chaos for those below and for many streets across the whole area. The cloud that was toxic dust that filled the streets of NYC and some of that footage I had never seen before and it really was like scenes from horror films.
People coming together when they had no idea if family members were still alive and attempting to keep track of all the emergency service workers were accounted for or not, this created some really brutal moments but it also made some amazing moments. The firefighter brothers who both feared the worst for each other and then just happened to bump into one another. Not forgetting one of the moments that hit me the hardest, the paramedic who got separated from his partner and had to get as many people to safety as he could, then went back out to find him and he did. The only person in that area and that was just an amazing moment.
Another story that I truly adored was the lawyer who was in the hotel attached to the twin towers and after the first collapsed he found himself covered with smoke and was still thinking about the case he was working on that day. But he had to try and get out and ended up with a firefighter who fully saved his life that day, a small group fighting to survive and get out before it was too late. The thing that really got me with this story was that he mentioned not seeing his daughter getting married, but we then get this amazing footage that he was at the wedding that day because his life was saved and the firefighter was at the wedding. What a truly incredible moment!
At times though it is quite difficult to feel the joy in the stories due to the fact that they only happened because of the worst terror attack the world has seen, but as I mentioned earlier you really do need to take that hope and good human nature to show that the good people in the world will help others.
In the final episode we see two ex-marines and a former paramedic who had alcohol and drug issues and went to help after receiving a phone-call from his estranged sister who wanted to check he was ok as she thought he would be helping, which then made him go and help with the search and rescue. They all managed to save so many people when it looked as though it would be too late at this point.
Don’t let the six episodes with running times of almost 90 minutes each put you off watching this documentary series as it really is more than worth all of that time. These stories need to be heard and everyone should understand what people were put through that day and how much people helped others before fully thinking about themselves first.
Rest in peace to all 9/11 victims who are no longer with us and thoughts forever with those who were impacted with loss on that day, it truly changed the world.