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America Remembers United Flight 93 – by Scott E. Rutter

The child of a victim wanted to hug the actor that portrayed his father.
A well-known Hollywood actor ranted that this is an exploitation of the events of 9/11 and inappropriate timing.

The movie United Flight 93 elicits a wide range of emotions and opinions and deals with a vital topic that is of national significance. Although it has been only five short years, it is time for America to begin the process of preservation. Integral to our history and our national development as a democratic nation, we must find a way to remember and honor the innocent victims of this attack and the men and women that have served to protect and defend this country, many making the ultimate sacrifice.

Just as a person has a memory that guides and reminds, the United States of America has a collective history that serves to steer the direction of events and form the basis of our mindset. Tragedies, such as those experienced in Flight 93, are important markers. As events move forward in the world, we must have in residence as part of our psyche the devastation and evil nature of these terrorist acts. When a tragic event first occurs, the initial reactions are primarily internal and local, it is with time that the long range ramifications and meanings surface.

Unfortunately, history can be painful, but if we don’t remind ourselves of what happened we risk forgetting. There are forces in the world that seek to distort and downplay events - we have President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran denying the Holocaust.. when hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives in WWII. We must never forget. Although it is painful, United Flight 93 is American history.

Some argue that it is crass that the events are portrayed on a Hollywood screen, but the facts are that the media is the best possible vehicle to engage the public. Although Hollywood will reap profits from this, the movie screen is one of the best ways to transmit a message to millions of people in the United States. I would hope that the producers will donate a portion of the profits to organizations such as the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and others to benefit those that have been intimately impacted.

Others have argued that the release of this movie is too early. The victim’s families have not had time to heal. Based on my experience with TAPS, the families will never fully heal from these tragic events. Many people may find this movie hard to watch, but those innocent people have a right to be remembered. People regularly go see movies with killing and kids play violent video games. What people are adverse to is the reality of United Flight 93 events. But, if we don't engage in reality, we put it in a place that no longer affects our everyday thoughts, activities and decisions. In doing so, we risk losing our grip on reality. What happened on Flight 93 was pure evil and we must be reminded that this evil still exists and seeks to destroy us today. We can't get into our SUV's and drive to the mall or relax in front our 42" LCD TVS watching Sex in the City and be deluded that because it didn't happen to "me", I am safe. Any one of us could have been on that plane or could be a target in the future. These are hard issues to deal with, but we must take time out of our lives to feel the pain and remember.

In closing, it is my hope that during the upcoming holidays, more people take time to reflect on why this country is so great -- -- we rely on ordinary men and women to make extraordinary sacrifices. From the Revolutionary War through our War on Terror, it is the dedication and love that Americans have for their country that drives them to answer our nations call to duty, whether it is serving in the Armed Forces, the government or in local communities. We must recall and remember United Flight 93, for if we don’t we risk forgetting all of the millions that have stood for this country during our nations history.

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Scott E. Rutter is a Philadelphia native and a highly decorated combat commander from both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He is a former Senior Intelligence Officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency. In addition to his deployments in the Middle East he served forward deployed in South Korea from 1997 until 1999. It was his unit that assaulted and took the Baghdad International Airport in a daring maneuver, for which his unit was broadly recognized. LTC Rutter was decorated with the Silver Star for this brilliant and deadly action.

Used with permission of, Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved.
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