Making Sense of a 9/11 Obsession

by Bill Brenner on September 10, 2014

It happens every time the calendar rolls into September. I start watching documentaries about 9/11 and can’t stop.

It’s as if an unseen force is controlling my actions. I go from one YouTube clip to the next.

Many people do this in the days leading up to the anniversary, but for me there’s the OCD element, where after I watch something I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll forget the rest of the world exists and just replay the scenes in my head over and over again.

Maybe it’s supposed to be this way. We need to remember what happened that day — the people we lost and those who distinguished themselves as heroes.

Or maybe I’m just making excuses for the part of me that can’t seem to look away.

Whatever the case may be, there’s at least one documentary I want to share with you: the Discovery Channel’s Inside the Twin Towers.

You can watch it all on YouTube in ten 10-minute clips. Here’s part one:

I think this documentary is important because you can learn a lot about the goodness man is capable of.

There’s a morbid aspect of the program where they show what it was probably like to be inside the towers as they collapsed. But this is mostly about people helping other people despite the risks to their own lives. You see a lot of strangers helping each other.

Once the haunting aspect of the documentary wears off, you’ll walk away feeling inspired.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll realize that you are capable of great things, of touching a lot of people, regardless of your own personal demons.

Events like 9/11 are full of evil and sorrow. But, as Mister Rogers said in a show he did right after the attacks, the helpers always come. Some are firefighters running up endless flights of stairs with 60 pounds of gear on their backs. And some are stock traders who, when put in a certain place at a certain time, did something they were always meant to do.

God has a plan, all right. Sometimes it involves awful events. But it’s a plan that sorts the boys from the men, the girls from the women, and the good souls from the selfish and indifferent souls.

If that’s the lesson I take from this annual obsession, so be it.

9/11 World Trade Center Memorial

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