Sunday, April 7, 2013

The American Adventure

Last week I was on a family vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando. My youngest daughter's high school marching band performed in the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom on Tuesday afternoon's Dream Come True parade. Our oldest daughter, who now lives in Boston, was able to join us for the week. On our last evening, we had some time before our dinner reservation at Epcot so we visited America in the World Showcase. Inside is a theater show called "The American Adventure" and the "stars" are Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin. It is a rather schmaltzy panorama of about 300 years of American history dating back to the Pilgrims. There are many Disney animatronics recreating figures in American history such as George Washington or Fredrick Douglass. At different times a full scrim falls to reveal famous American documents like the Declaration of Independence. At other times there are famous newspaper headlines or images of heroes like Charles Lindbergh. Toward the end of the nearly half hour show there are images of 9/11 including the famous one of the firefighters hoisting the American flag in New York City. Remember United 93 flashes quickly across the screen. Those images still provoke strong memories and I suppose they always will. It reminds me through all that history that in 2001 we still received most of our news about the day from television, not the Internet. If one were to stage a show just about 9/11, who would you choose to narrate the events? George H. W. Bush? Tom Browkaw? Mayor Guiliani? A senator or member of the House of Representatives whom could have been the intended target of Flight 93? A NYFD or NYPD 9/11 widow? A farmer from Somerset County, Pennsylvania who actually saw United 93 crash? A U. S. citizen who was born in the Middle East, but fell victim to hatred following 9/11? 9/11 can't be called an adventure, but it was an event that shaped America and defined us-defined a whole generation just like the events in 'The American Adventure did-wars, Westward expansion, and more.

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