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'United 93' emotions of Sept. 11

Families rooted for different outcome

Families rooted for different outcome

April 29, 2006|By VICKI ROCK - Special to The Herald-Mail from Daily American

SOMERSET, PA.

Families of passengers on Flight 93 know how that story ends, but many found themselves hoping for a different outcome when they watched advance screenings of "United 93."

"The families agreed we were so caught up in the action, we were actually rooting for them, knowing full well the outcome," Mary White, Port St. Lucie, Fla., said. She saw the advance screening for the film held on the East Coast.

Her daughter, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, 27, was a passenger.

Carole O'Hare, Danville, Calif., who saw the advance screening on the West Coast, said the families there had the same reaction. Her mother, Hilda Marcin, 79, was on the flight.

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"We knew what would happen and we were still hoping for a better outcome," O'Hare said. "I had the same reaction when they played the cockpit recording for us. I was thinking, 'Come on, you can do it.'"

Forty passengers and crew died when they tried to regain control of the hijacked aircraft and it crashed in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, Pa. on Sept. 11, 2001.

"United 93" opened Friday at the Regal Valley Mall Stadium 16.

Patrick G. White, Naples, Fla., also attended the East Coast screening. He is co-chairman of the Flight 93 Task Force and vice president of Families of Flight 93. His cousin, Louis "Joey" Nacke II, 42, was a passenger.

"You have to see it with people you can trust," he said. "You may not know that going in, but coming out you will. I asked a woman, 'Would you mind if I gave you a hug?' and she said, 'I need a hug.'"

White said when his family heard the transcript from the cockpit tape and believe they recognized Nacke's voice on the recording.

"He was in the cockpit when the plane went down," White said. "We're very proud of him and all the folks who made sure our nation's Capitol was not a target. They did not take out a symbol of our democracy."

Ten percent of the first weekend's gross will be donated to the Flight 93 National Memorial Fund, movie officials have said.

While this is the first Flight 93 movie to be released in theaters, "The Flight That Fought Back," a documentary, aired on Discovery Channel in 2005. The theatrical version is more intense, some family members said.

"It shows the complexity of the day; the frailties, lack of communication and frustration," Mary White said. "This is not a happy film; this is not a pretty film; this film describes in real time the deaths that occurred. It shows footage of the Towers and the Pentagon and weaves Flight 93 through it all."

Mary White said she went to the movie "with my stomach in knots" and sat in the back in case she had to leave quickly. She likes that they showed how those on the flight reasoned out what they could do.

What is most powerful for Patrick White is that the movie is not about a passenger or a few passengers, it is about them all.

It includes re-enactments of air traffic controllers and military agencies on the ground and news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the World Trade Center.

It ends before the airplane crashes.

"It is an unflinching view of a harsh and tragic reality," he said.

The Daily American publishes in Somerset County, Pa. It is a sister newspaper to The Herald-Mail.

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