I was sleeping in on the morning of September 11, 2001, for I thought it was another Tuesday off from school.
My mother woke me up and told me about the planes hitting the World Trade Center Towers in New York. However, it didn’t resonate with me at all. I was too tired and immediately fell back asleep.
I woke up an hour later, walked by the living room, and was shocked by the smoldering imagery on the screen. The realization of terror that occurred, coupled with my mother’s wake-up call, hit me in tandem like a wave of sorrow.
A few moments later, my friend called saying his class was dismissed when school security entered the room and said, “You all need to leave. The United States is under attack.”
Later that day, I walked to work as a normally bustling downtown area was empty. Stores were closed, no cars were on the road, and public transportation was shut down.
The three churches I walked by contained pews full of people, with the doors of each establishment propped wide open, silently inviting in all.
WWE debut their “Never Forget” documentary giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the first episode of SmackDown post 9/11.
Vince McMahon, various decision-makers, stagehands, and wrestlers questioned whether they should go on with the show in Houston, TX.
President George W. Bush’s oval office address to a rattled nation inspired McMahon to show his resolve by going on with the show.
Usually, SmackDown was taped on Tuesday and aired on Thursday. With no live entertainment of any sort occurring on the day of the attacks, McMahon opted to broadcast the show live that Thursday from Houston.
Interviews from wrestlers who worked that show permeate with fear and hesitation. Most parties did not want to proceed with the show while others felt the need to go on.
While the four attacks are mentioned, only the New York attacks are mentioned by name and photography.
Stephanie McMahon nearly coming to tears upon reflection is hard to take in as anything poignant for those who remember her on the show comparing the 9/11 attacks to her father’s federal indictment.
Perhaps, the mentions can be chalked up to following a pattern of most 9/11 coverage largely focusing on New York. Maybe it’s due to the company’s deep New York roots.
WWE Never Forget is a brisk 34-minute documentary that serves as a staunch reminder that everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing that day.
For the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Lillian Garcia, Edge, Vince McMahon, and countless others, their way of fighting back was to do what they do best…giving fans a much-needed two-hour escape in a seemingly never-ending news cycle of terror.
WWE released ‘Never Forget’ on YouTube and is posted below.