The Catholic University of America

Sept. 9, 2011

Students Invited by Vice President to View 9/11 Documentary

Helen Marie Berg was in her sixth grade classroom in Detroit on Sept. 11, 2001, when she learned about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. She remembers watching the devastating TV footage of the attacks with her family in the living room that night.

Nearly ten years later, Berg was one of approximately 20 history students from Catholic University who attended a Sept. 7 screening of the documentary “REBIRTH” at the invitation of the White House. Vice President Joseph Biden delivered opening remarks at the screening, held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.

“The vice president pointed out that at this point in our lives, as college students, we have lived one half or our lives before 9/11 and one half after,” Berg says. “He explained that we were in a unique position to have experienced the tragedy as children and were clearly affected in different ways than our adult counterparts. He continued that despite this difference, it was important that we understand our feelings so we could pass that on to the next generation.”

“REBIRTH” chronicles the lives of five people directly impacted by 9/11 and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. The five people featured in the film were interviewed each year after the attacks.

“The goal of the documentary was to show the personal side of the effects of 9/11,” Berg explains. “It does not explore politics or history. Instead, it showed how five people were affected by the tragedy. As sad as it was to hear about their loss, seeing how they’ve grown since 9/11 was very hopeful and moving.”

Berg said the film made her think — as Biden pointed out — “that it’s our duty as Americans in our 20’s to continue to strive to understand this tragedy.”

More than 130 college students from area universities were invited by the White House Office of the Vice President to the screening.


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