American September will be a documentary film presenting interviews with fifty-one people from fifty states and Washington D.C. about their September 2001 stories. Each interview subject will be filmed in their respective state with a noticeable landmark, piece of history, or slice of Americana behind them. Multiple interviews will be filmed in most states, but only one will be selected for the final film. All interviews will be available on their respective state's page. I am looking to interview a wide range of subjects for the project including:
Someone who joined the armed forces because of the attacks
Someone who was grounded due to air travel being halted
Someone who worked in television news during the attacks
Someone who was a member of the Islamic faith during the attacks
Someone who lost a loved one in the attacks
Someone who survived the attacks
Someone who assisted in recovery efforts following the attacks
And many more. If you have a story you feel is worth telling I want to interview you. Millions of Americans have stories to share and I will be honored to present 51 of those stories in the final film.
The film is a growing work in progress as I travel the country. My goal is to have the film completed by the 20th anniversary.
HOW THE PROJECT STARTED
My interest in 9/11 history actually started in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina came to my coastal town Long Beach, Mississippi. My family and I left before the storm hit, Mom told me to take a good look at all of the old houses along the beach highway because they wouldn’t be here when I got back. When it became clear just how bad the damage was, my family made a road trip out of our exodus. Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama then to Raleigh, North Carolina then to Washington D.C. and finally Sylvan Lake, Michigan where my grandparents lived. I got to see a lot of the country. When we were in Raleigh with my Aunt and Uncle, news footage of New Orleans and home was playing. No one wanted to watch it so we changed unknowingly to a channel playing footage of the 9/11 attacks, it was early September so a lot of channels were airing remembrance specials. I was six when 9/11 happened so while I remember the attacks and their aftermath, this was honestly the first time I had seen the footage. Then in D.C. we stopped at the Smithsonian and saw a beam of the World Trade Center on display. I looked at the picture of the old buildings behind it more than the beam itself. When I finally got to Michigan I had no school to go to or friends around to keep me occupied. Like most kids with nothing to do I returned to the television, one of those old black box CRTs my grandparents had in the basement atop a shelf of Mickey Mouse VHS tapes. But I wasn’t down there to watch the tapes. It was still September and the footage was always on. Like I said as a six year old I understood something bad had happened, but in 2005 I was finally seeing it. It was realer to me then than it was before. I watched a lot of footage in that time away from home. When I did return home after two weeks in Michigan I saw Mississippi differently too. Everything beachfront gone or gutted, almost nothing south of the railroad tracks untouched by water, and barbed wire lining those tracks cutting me off from half of my own town. Our house was fine, just a few trees down and a blue FEMA tarp over the roof. When it became safe enough for us to visit the waterfront I went with my father and brother to visit what used to be our church. The whole building was picked up and carried off north, only a concrete slab remained. As I stood in the spot I asked my father “When I’m older and leave Mississippi will people understand when I tell them about this?” And he said “No.” I realized why I spent all those lazy days in Michigan watching that footage. I wanted to understand. That’s why I’m making this documentary. All of America has a story to tell about a moment we shared, when our humanity was tested and the course of our future changed forever. There was a moment when all of America was under the same clear, blue sky.