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Sadly, the story of 9/11 is one that's often been stolen - by politicians using it as a backdrop for endless grandstanding, by conspiracy theorists convinced of cover-ups, by real (and fabricated) heroes seeking lionization, and by so many others who have manipulated it for their own agendas.
Now, finally, a single documentary gives us the real story. "16 Acres" is a documentary on the decade-long planning process of rebuilding the World Trade Center site. It shows the massive number of stakeholders who together create a cacophony of input. Design decisions must be made in a tug-o-war between victims' families, residents, the media, an alphabet soup of govt agencies, politicians and private interests.
As one person says, it's an impossible job. Not only because of the number of voices. But because the public expects to do with buildings, what buildings just can't do - heal a wounded nation, renew American confidence, console those in grief, etc.
Watching it all unfold - you might hope that for once, people could just unite and be understanding of one another. Instead, sadly, they doggedly pursue their own interests, as if wearing horse blinders to everyone else.
The process is ugly. But in the end, it produces something beautiful. Not because the design is most ideal. But because it represents compromise. A truly American compromise, which could only have come from the manifold voices, all shouting at each another until finally something emerged.
Now, thanks to this documentary, that is what 9/11 will forever mean to me. My highest rating.
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