World Trade Center was released on August 9, 2006 by Paramount Pictures. It is academy award winning, full color film detailing the events and survival of Port Authority Police Sergeant John McLoughlin and Officer William Jimeno after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The film follows the officers and their families throughout the day of the attack. The roles of McLoughlin and Jimeno are excellently played by Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena respectively. Jay Hernandez, Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal all have smaller yet supporting roles as Officer Dominick Pezzulo, Donna McLoughlin and Allison Jimeno.
Sergeant John McLoughlin, William J. Jimeno and Dominick Pezzulo were officers assigned to New York City’s Port Authority on September 11th, 2001 when they received the emergency call. The officers get on a city bus and head towards the towers. McLoughlin, Jimeno and Pezzulo were among the policemen who attempted to evacuate the World Trade Center towers after they were struck by planes piloted by terrorists. All three men fled to an elevator shaft inside the fifth building concourse of the World Trade Center when the towers began to fall. McLoughlin is trapped much lower than Jimeno and Pezzulo.Order now
Jimeno is pinned with heavy concrete on his chest, while Pezzulo only received a few scratches. The rubble moves a second time when tower one collapses and Pezzulo is trapped between concrete. He tells Jimeno to remember he died trying to save their lives and he eventually succumbs to his injuries while McLoughlin and Jimeno struggled to stay alive as rescuers search through the rubble. They talk about their families and reminisce of happy times in their lives. They pray and focus on their wives and children. Eventually they are found by two marine reservists and a civilian .
Meanwhile, their wives desperately hope that their husbands survived and would come home. They have flashbacks of their husbands with their kids and good times in their marriages. As the families waited for word on the survival of their loved ones, they watched as the United States banned together. After Tower one collapses the movie shows Pezzulo right next to Jimeno. Jimeno continues to talk to his partner even though his death is imminent. Pezzulo is bleeding out of his mouth and struggling to stay alive and he tells Jimeno to remember he died trying to save their lives.
In real life, Pezzulo spends his last minutes with McLoughlin. Trapped next to him some 10 feet lower than Jimeno, Pezzulo tells the sergeant “Remember, I tried to get you guys out” (Leung, 2004). McLoughlin later goes on to report, “At a time he (Pezzulo) had to make a decision –either climb out and get help, or stay and get us out. And he chose to stay there and try to get us out” (Leung, 2004). The movie does not show any sign of rescuers for these men until Marines Jason Thomas and Dave Karnes hear them while searching in the night. Jimeno later reported to US Today “Then, a voice came from above.
A man yelled into the hole. He gave the last name of a man he was searching for and wanted to know whether he was down there. No, Jimeno yelled. We’re down here. PAPD (for Port Authority Police Department). McLoughlin and Jimeno. Then the man walked away. Don’t leave us! ” Jimeno cried. But the man vanished” (“USATODAY. com – Miracles Emerge from Debris,” n. d. ). Jimeno and McLoughlin continue to wait in hopes of more rescuers. The movie’s account of times was accurate. At 8:47 a. m. , American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, and at 9:03 a. . , United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. Flight 175 exploded upon impact and it only took the South Tower 56 minutes to collapse at 9:59am. The North Tower collapsed almost thirty minutes later at 10:28am. “Thousands of people are buried in the wreckage of the buildings, which were brought down by suicide hijackers at the controls of the two fuel laden Boeing 767 airliners” (Reuters, 2002, p. 1). Based on facts found on the internet and in books, it appears the movie has the correct times of each significant event that happened that day.
I have read different accounts as to who Pezzulo was speaking to during his last moments of life. The movie shows him with Jimeno but the USA today reports he was with McLoughlin. The movie also portrayed Karnes as a religious man who worked with Sergeant Jason Thomas, a white reservist. It was not until five years later that the real Jason Thomas stepped forward. He was a young black man who had been out of the marines when the attack happened. He instantly knew his assistance was in need “Someone needed help. It didn’t matter who, he said. I didn’t even have a plan.
But I have all this training as a marine, and all I could think was, my city is in need” (Hoft, 2006). The planes that hit the World Trade Center were not the only ones that crashed. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes, two hit the Twin Towers, one hit the Pentagon and a third crashed in a Pennsylvania field. They were all part of the Al Qaeda, a terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden. “He hoped to harm Americans and the American way of life” (Greene, 2007, p. 23).
It was not until 2004 that bin Laden agreed to his involvement and as told on Wikipedia “Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U. S. upport of Israel, the presence of U. S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks” (“September 11 attacks – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,” n. d). The attack of the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and flight 93 are all a personal experience, even though one might not have been at any of these locations. It is impossible to forget where you were or what you were doing when it happened. The images of the flames engulfing the tower, smoke filling New York City streets, and of survivors running for their lives would overwhelm each of us for months to come.
It is one of the most memorable moments in our nation’s history. While some say it should never be put on screen, Stone did a fantastic job showing everyone, what went on that day for two Port Authority police officers who barely knew each other and their families struggle to await information. This movie is highly recommended for anyone who can handle some of the raw footage and death scenes. An age limit cannot be put on this film; it is strictly up to each individual if they are suited to view it.
Greene, J. (2007). The 2001 World Trade Center Attack. New York, NY: Bearport.
Hoft, H. (2006, September 11). Marine Hero from World Trade Center Sgt. Thomas Steps Forward. Retrieved from http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2006/09/marine-hero-from-world-trade-center-sgt-thomas-steps-forward/
Leung, R. (2004, November 23). LAST MAN OUT. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/last-man-out/
Reuters. (2002). September 11 a testimony. NewYork, NY: Pearson Education.
September 11 attacks – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks
USATODAY.com – Miracles emerge from debris. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-09-05-miracles-usat_x.htm