Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The video I found was created a few months after 9/11, by a student of 8th grade; around 13-14 years old. They say they had to make a memorial video for a school project, which already shows the significance of 9/11 in every day life. In the description it says that they had a 9/11 ceremony in their schools, showing the real sense of community and patriotism, and how it seems like it takes a tragedy to bring a nation together.

The first part of the video is set to a Enya – ‘Only Time’, playing news clips and first hand accounts along to videos of the second plane going in to the tower, explosions and images of newspaper covers. There are pictures of the Twin Towers before the attack, people talking about the “gaping hole at the top of the World Trade Centre”, and “streets filled with people”, and all of these people are in shock and/or upset, understandably. These clips alone are enough to see how even today videos like this are being watched and we can understand how they felt and remember the attack. The video includes graphic photos from the attack, and different views of the Towers from all over New York City. It then plays an audio of George Bush’s speech announcing the attack, and the image of him being told about it.

The other striking image is the one of “The Falling Man”, an iconic image from 9/11. There are lots of personal accounts being played about people who saw others jumping from the building, and we see videos of people falling, which is incredibly hard hitting and harrowing for anyone watching. The first part of the video ends with a bird’s eye view of Ground Zero.

The second part to this video is set to the song “Proud to be an American” – quite an apt choice. It starts with Bush saying, “Terrorism against our nation will not stand. May God bless the victims, their families and America”. He is making a stand to the terrorists. “United We Stand” is a message displayed at the start, showing how America has supposedly come together since the attack to form a united front against the terrorists. Whilst the song is playing we see lots of images of memorials – candles, flowers, balloons, and lots of crowds gathered to honour the victims. The lyrics in the song fit aptly – “the flag stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away” – showing America’s spirit in the face of tragedy.

Throughout the video there is a huge focus on God, people praying and phrases like “God Bless the USA” which kind of feels like the Americans needed some kind of explanation for what happened so turned to God for some answers, and for something good to believe in after the tragedy. More images in the video include small children with the American flag, hinting at innocence, an underlying meaning perhaps being America’s innocence, the idea of them as the victim in the story, when many think this is not the case.

What then begins is a montage of images of the New York skyline from various angles, merged with images of a bald eagle, the US flag and Jesus – quite bizarre. The use of the eagle is symbolic, not only is it the image used on the Great Seal of the United States to authenticate documents signed by the US Federal Government, but following a search on ‘Yahoo answers’, after asking “What do eagles symbolise?”, Yahoo’s chosen ‘best answer’ was “Freedom, strength and wisdom. And the US of course”. So the eagle has become a well-known symbol of the United States. The two images that really stood out in this montage was firstly one of the New York skyline with the Statue of Liberty at the forefront, but it had been given wings. This is either to symbolise the eagle, or an angelic or innocent representation of the United States as a victim. The second striking image was of the towers collapsing, and Jesus reaching down from the sky, and it looks like he is trying to help by reaching towards the tower. These were both really bizarre images that combined the tragedy with religion and patriotism.

There is also an image of the memorial done at Ground Zero each year, the search lights shone up into the sky to create the position of the Twin Towers, then the image of a heart merging into the skyline with the Twin Towers still in tact. The video ends “In memory of the victims of September 11, God Bless”, another reference to religion.

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