On the evening of September 8, CCI commemorated the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by holding a screening and panel discussion of the documentary film, The Falling Man.
Margie Morrison, interim director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations, moderated the panel discussion. Panel members included Bob Legg, an award winning documentarian and JEM associate professor; Reed Massengill (B.S./ JEM ’84), who was at work in the building next door to the World Trade Center when the attacks occurred; and Tom Junod, writer of the well-known Esquire article on which The Falling Man documentary is based, who joined the panel via a virtual, real-time video connection. The dialog between Massengill and Junod recounted their experiences on that day and offered first-hand accounts of the dramatic and emotional impact the events had on those who survived the attacks.
Massengill who arrived early for work on 9/11/2001 in the American Express headquarter offices in the World Financial Center complex, felt the first plane hit, and saw the second plane drive into the second tower. “It was at that point we realized the first crash had not been a freak airplane accident.” As a part of the Corporate Affairs and Communications team, Massengill quickly assembled an e-mail and sent it out to the corporate distribution lists explaining the emergency assessment of the building. They would later post emergency updates on a telephone hotline. Massengill and his boss did not get out of the building before the first tower fell. He described himself when he emerged as ”one of those people covered in soot.” Eventually he made his way via ferry to the New Jersey side of the river where he and others on the ferry stood in horror as the second tower fell. His walk home that day was very emotional and surreal.
As Junod and Massengill shared their experiences, the audience asked them questions regarding their current feelings about the events of that day. In the audience were members of Massengill’s family who were hearing him tell the story of his 9/11 experiences for the first time.
Those who attended the screening and panel discussion in the CCI Auditorium were moved by the experience and gained greater insights into 9/11. “This has been an incredible experience and makes me appreciate having access to the university’s resources,” said one local community member as she left the event.
Professor Rob Heller provided several newspaper front pages from the day after the attacks for the front lobby, and staff provided a series of newspapers and magazines collected in the aftermath of the attacks.