Tuesday, May 02, 2006


We live in a paradox of times.
I went and saw 'United 93' this weekend and it was a very powerful experience. One of my friends, Patrick St. Esprit, plays the military commander in the film. I remember when he went to London to shoot the film how he knew he was making an important film. It is cinema that makes you feel horrified, frightened, angry and sad...the effect gripped me all weekend.

In October 2001, after 9/11, I was in New York on business and found myself making the journey to Ground Zero where the World Trade towers had once stood.
It was eerie and quiet.
There were candles, flowers and alters and a heaviness hung the air.I had never seen anything quite like it before.

It felt like I was being embraced by a phantom church and I was standing on hallowed ground.
I will never forget it.
I was emotionally drained for a month.

Yesterday I went and saw the exhibit Ashes and Snow at the Nomadic Museum in Santa Monica. This breaktaking culmination of photographs and short films by Gregory Colbert, touches the heart of humanity and life. It spills the beauty and the mystery of it all and moved me to tears more than once.
Two different experiences that emotionally touched me in different ways...
Life is such a paradox.


Amanda A. Brooks said...

angela, glad you were willing to see the film. don't know why it bothers me that people aren't. it moved me so much, thinking of those poor people who lost their lives. i don't think i could have been that brave. of course, they had no choice. the night before, i saw the a & e version on tv called flight 93. did you see that one? -amanda brooks

~jolene said...

Hello Angela,
I have been very much "on the fence" regarding seeing the film. I have just not been sure if I could handle it emotionally . Initially upon hearing of its release I physically shuddered - thinking - WHY a movie, didn't we live it "live" in our livingrooms, around our kitchen tables, at our neighbor's homes vividly enough?

After reading your views and reaction I am feeling a bit more open to seeing it.

Thank you for expressing all the emotions it evoked in you.

~corona del mar, california

Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

I can't decide whether to see the film or not. I have very dear and special friends who lost their son in the towers on 9/11. I visited Ground Zero with them a couple of summers ago when I went to see them in NYC. I have stood on their son's grave and held a piece of the towers in my hands. It was life-altering for me.

I can't imagine sitting there watching, knowing what I know about the depths of the pain that horrific moment in time caused. I am torn between wanting to learn as much as I can in order to make some small attempt at understanding and not wanting to give any more energy to the evil that was done.

Strangely enough, this morning I woke with an idea about honouring the 5th anniversary of 9/11 and have started formulating what I would like to do. Then I read this post from you. Serendipidy. If nothing else, it reinforced my feeling that I must put my plan into action, Universe willing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Angela, My feelings are strongly influenced by memory and the year following 9/11 I could not let go of the sight of people breaking and jumping out windows flying through the air to their death. It is a memory that I will never shake-I spent the following year in a state that I can only describe as hypnotic. I couldn't focus or think straight and I had a really severe case of agoraphobia. I can't see the movie and still can't look when they show the towers falling on news reports. Too many people lost and to much chaos. I hope it helps people who can see it but I just can't go there anymore in my sleep or in reality. My friend had a loft not 4 blocks from the site and I have never been able to return there since. She had to move and is still emotionally troubled in small but real ways. It's sort of like Post traumatic stress syndrome and the act of running from death never really leaves your mind. I've never thought of myself as a coward but I guess in this case maybe some would call me that. I'll have to live with that.

Anonymous said...

Angela, your post was beautiful.

Like some of the others here, I haven't been able to bring myself to the point of going to see the film in a theater. I do think I might rent it someday and watch in the privacy of my own home.

I must admit the week of 9/11/01 I asked coworkers when they thought there might be a major motion picture movie made about it...the general consensus back then was that it would take "many, many" years. Well, that was incorrect.

Amanda A. Brooks said...

This is so beautiful about 9-11
-Amanda Brooks

Her hair was up in a pony tail,

her favorite dress tied with a bow.

Today was Daddy's Day at school,

and she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her,

that she probably should stay home.

Why the kids might not understand,

if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid; she knew just what to say.

What to tell her classmates of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,

for her to face this day alone.

And that was why once again,

she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school

eager to tell them all.

About a dad she never sees;

a dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back, for everyone to meet.

Children squirming impatiently,

anxious in their seats

One by one the teacher called a student from the class.

To introduce their daddy, as seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,

every child turned to stare.

Each of them was searching,

for a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"

she heard a boy call out.

"She probably doesn't have one,"

another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,

she heard a daddy say,

"Looks like another deadbeat dad,

too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,

as she smiled up at her Mom.

And looked back at her teacher,

who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,

slowly she began to speak.

And out from the mouth of a child,

came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,

because he lives so far away.

But I know he wishes he could be,

since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,

I wanted you to know.

All about my daddy,

and how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories

he taught me to ride my bike.

He surprised me with pink roses,

and taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,

and ice cream in a cone.

And though you cannot see him.

I'm not standing here alone.

"Cause my daddy's always with me,

even though we are apart

I know because he told me,

he'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,

and lay across her chest.

Feeling her own heartbeat,

beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads, her mother stood in tears.

Proudly watching her daughter,

who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love

of a man not in her life.

Doing what was best for her,

doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down, staring straight into the crowd.

She finished with a voice so soft,

but its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much,

he's my shining star.

And if he could, he'd be here,

but heaven's just too far

You see he was a policeman

and died just this past year

When airplanes hit the towers

and taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,

it's like he never went away."

And then she closed her eyes,

and she saw him there that day.

And to her mothers amazement,

she witnessed with surprise

A room full of daddies and children,

all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,

who knows what they felt inside.

Perhaps for merely a second,

they saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"

to the silence she called out.

And what happened next made believers,

of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,

for each of their eyes had been closed.

But there on the desk beside her,

was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,

by the love of her shining star.

And given the gift of believing,

that heaven is never too far.

They say it takes a minute to find a special

person, an hour to appreciate them,

a day to love them, but then an entire

life to forget them.

Send this to the people you'll never forget and

! remember to send it also to the person that sent

it to you. It's a short message to let them know

that you'll never forget them.

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're

in a hurry and that you've forgotten your


Take the time...to live and love.

Until eternity

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful poem. There isn't a single tissue left in the box! I hope you don't mind that I am sending it along to everyone that's important in my life.

Amanda A. Brooks said...

Thank you jroberts. What was sad was that not only did kids make fun of this child for not having her dad there, but parents did, too. Parents are supposed to set an example for their kids. Instead, they teach them to hate and make fun of. It was kind of sad that they only started tearing up when they realized why the little girl had no dad. That's unacceptable in my book. This little girl held her head up high and was proud to talk about her dad. I'm amazed she was able to after the way kids and adults treated her. This is why we can't judge someone till we know them, or understand the circumstances. Thank you for letting me know how much this meant to you. Love, Amanda Brooks

Amanda A. Brooks said...

Angela, my friend and I just made plans to see the Ashes and Snow exhibit Thursday night. It's funny, but right after reading your blog, I got an email asking if I wanted to see it with her. -Amanda Brooks

Amanda A. Brooks said...

Angela, my friend and I just saw Ashes and Snow tonight, and it was amazing. The pics really made you feel at peace with yourself. Can you imagine being best friends with wild animals? It makes you realize how we take things for granted. We have computers, tv, etc. And we want more. These people just have these animals, their world and their families, and expect nothing more in return. They can face so much pain, and yet, they don't complain. Because of this, I'm going to take time to stop and smell the roses.
-Amanda Brooks

Anonymous said...

United 93 is the only movie I've paid to see this year. The same is true for my brother. I'll never forget the end of the movie with the screen suddenly going black. No one in the theater moved for a full minute and then after most of the credits we all filed out silently. A stunning experience and an important film.

Mystical_Lucie said...

A very touching & powerful movie for sure: "Let's roll ......"

Here is another very touching story about 9/11 that very few people have heard about before. It concerns a young African warrior, born in poverty, who came to the U.S. to study to become a doctor and who happened to be in New York on 9/11. His reaction to those events will inspire you.


Seth said...

You must have experienced such a wide range of emotions throughout the movie and the exhibit. This has definitely been a weekend of reflection and emotion.