Remembering 9/11
with films and documentaries

A few of the many programs and memoirs of the tragic event

By Byron Toben

September 9, 2021

It was 20 years ago that four hijacked airplanes slammed into The World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania, killing about 3,000 people. This triggered a 20-year war in Afghanistan (which was then hosting Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the attack), the growth of a domestic surveillance society and other repercussions that may yet follow.

There are many programs and memoirs of those events. Here are a few of them:

Come From Away: The Musical

The film opens in theatres on September 11. The generosity of Newfoundlanders to hundreds of stranded passengers forced to land was a hit musical and now a movie.

President George W. Bush 9/11

President George W. Bush learns of the attack on the World Trade Center – Image: frame from Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore’s hit 2004 documentary is about the Iraq invasion in 2003 in addition to the Afghanistan involvement but has many similarities. It will be streamed for free on his website on Friday evening, September 10. The film is the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

The title is a play on the title of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which paper will burn). Moore’s tag was “911 – the temperature at which freedom will burn.” Bradbury attacked Moore for copyright infringement. As I admire both of them, it was sad to see such a squabble over a temperature. Perhaps Moore should have used Celsius.

History Channel

The History Channel presents a three-part television remembrance as follows:

September 10 at 9 pm (ET)
Rise And Fall: The World Trade Center

September 11 at 8 pm (ET)
9/11: Four Flights

September 11 at 10 pm (ET)
“9/11: I Was There 

9/11: I Was There

Frame from the documentary 9/11: I Was There

My tribute

My own tribute to the 22 Canadian citizens who perished in the World Trade Center collapse took place one year later, in 2002, at the then Erskine and American church (now Bourgie Hall). It consisted of poetry readings (Harry Hill, Laura Mitchell, Cat Kidd and myself ), music (Montreal Lyric Singers chorus, soloists Bronna Levy, Felix Stussi, Marie Claude Lamouroux, Vivienne Deane), and a recitation of the names of the Canadian victims by Millicent Broderick and Barry O’Connell. (Sorry if I forgot the names of a few other performers.)

Feature image: Jonathan Smith – 9/11 Memorial and Museum Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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