Director of 9/11 documentary series hopes to teach younger generation

The director of a landmark documentary series about 9/11 has said he wants to teach the next generation about the “true scale of the horror of what happened that day” but also “the humanity that happened that day”.

The six-part series 9/11: One Day In America, which will air on repeat on National Geographic throughout the day on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the tragedies, uses hundreds of hours of archive footage to detail the story of September 11 2001.

Director Daniel Bogado interviewed scores of survivors about their experiences of the tragedy and said many were aware that younger people know very little about what happened that day.

He told the PA news agency: “I was 20 years old at the time, so I have very firm memories of the event.

“Around the time, something that was said was ‘never forget’. You did wonder, who would ever forget this? It’s one of the most unforgettable events of human history.

“And yet, 20 years later, as I was speaking to contributors, and people who survived this, this was a real fear because you speak to young people today, and some know very little, and some know nothing.

“So that in a way gave us a mission, like ‘this is for the survivors’. But this is also for the next generation, to create, in one place, one series, something that’s very well put together that will show you the true scale of the horror of what happened that day and the humanity that happened that day.

“That helped a lot with the contributors and they would say that to us as the reason they wanted to participate, that they are here today, and the person that was standing next to them is not, so they’re going to have to speak on the behalf of that person.

“So we actually found a lot of willingness and keenness to participate, particularly because of the legacy aspect, of teaching the next generation. That was the one thing that a lot of people told us about.”

Bogado said it ended up being a cathartic experience for many of the survivors to share their memories of that time, adding: “We had a counsellor on standby, if they felt they needed somebody to talk to.

“But in the end, one of the things that happened a lot, people did find it cathartic.

“A lot of people called us afterwards and said, ‘Actually, I feel really good about having participated. I feel really good about how I told my story. I feel good about having gotten that off my chest’.

“That was something that we experienced a lot.”

9/11: One Day In America is airing all day on National Geographic on September 11 and is available on catch-up.