This Chilling Documentary Recounts The Chaos Of 9/11 Through FAA Recordings

Illustration for article titled This Chilling Documentary Recounts The Chaos Of 9/11 Through FAA Recordings

Many lessons were learned the hard way on 9/11, but one of the biggest was just how unprepared our defenses were for an internal attack. While the Federal Aviation Administration did an incredible job landing all planes, the problems with communications and decision making and lack of flexibility in procedures when it came to intercepting aerial threats inside the country were disastrous.


The film is 9/11: The Lost Tapes, made by the UK’s Channel 4. These days it’s pretty widely available online. This outstanding documentary takes you on a moment by moment recap of the chaos on the East Coast on that historic day. Since then, the USAF has totally revised its alert posture and how it deals with potentially hostile aircraft.


Additionally, the Washington D.C. area has been outfitted with layers of surface to air missiles and the most advanced radar systems in the world in an attempt to ensure that such an attack does not happen again.

Even with all these enhancements, there are struggles to keep up with emerging threats, but they are still not as blatant or potentially dangerous as the threat posed by hijackers turning commercial airliners into guided missiles and ramming them into buildings.

Art credit: USAF/Public Domain

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When a friend of my mother brought a Toyota Avalon, my mother was incensed. I asked why and she said, “That car is made by the Japanese.” To her, distaste for anything Japanese had its roots in the events of December 7th, 1941.

For my generation we have friends, relatives, and brothers-in-arms whose names are inscribed on a black stone wall in the Nation’s capital.

America has a short memory. We buy Toyotas. We buy clothing made in Vietnam. Maybe our memory is short because those enemies are past.

September 11, 2001, is a day when innocent people lost their lives on American soil because an enemy who hates us for who we are and what we represent – life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, freedom speech – wanted to strike.

On this 14th anniversary of 9/11, please, pause and reflect on what this date means to America. We cannot let the significance of this date drift off into the ether. We can’t forget our lost brothers and sisters who died that day in New York, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. We should not forget our veterans who have fought, and are fighting in, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The same ideology that envisioned and executed the events of 9/11 is still active and, to a large degree, as robust now as then. We aren’t out of the woods yet. America’s attention span has the longevity of a May fly. Here’s hoping America’s memory is more permanent.