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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On a serious note ...

Today, as you're all probably aware, marks the seventh anniversary of 9-11.

The History Channel is marking the somber occasion by showing a new two-hour documentary, "102 Minutes That Changed America," at 8 p.m. tonight.

Seven years in, it's hard for a lot of people to watch news coverage or even look at still photos from that day. More than understandable.

As someone who owns the gut-wrenching "Inside 9/11" documentary by National Geographic -- and has watched quite a few others -- I find it necessary to confront images from that day, even if I don't really want to. It doesn't make for easy viewing, that's for sure.

Necessary viewing? Again, each person chooses to confront grim realities in his or her own way. Had I lost someone in 9-11, I'm not quite sure I could watch anything affiliated with the terrorist attacks ... maybe ever.

But the 9-11 documentaries I've sought out have always been highly informative, and while all-too real, ultimately respectful of the audience. I expect the same from tonight's airing.

The History Channel says the commercial free special uses "unique material from sources ranging from amateur photography and video to FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority and emergency dispatch radio recordings, photography and video. Also seen is footage broadcast outside the U.S., electronic messages and voicemails and outtakes culled from raw network footage." Interviews with the filmmakers will also provide context for the circumstances they were in, why they shot video, what the footage means to them, and where they were on that day.

A New York Times review of "102 Minutes" can be found here. It might shed light as to whether it's something you'll want to make time for tonight.

Photo credit: Peter Foley/AP

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



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