Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflections: A 9/11 Tribute

Reflections: A 9/11 Tribute from Stephen M. Keller on Vimeo.

When my boss asked me to begin a project commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I didn’t estimate the emotional drain of its creation. Before taking a job with Southwest three weeks ago, I had been a photojournalist for several years. I’ve covered devastation and tragedy many times, but there was something different in this story. 9/11 was the biggest moment in American history in my lifetime, and impacted every single American in a unique way. How do I sum up such a pivotal moment, one filled with grief and pain for many, in a web video?

Undoubtedly, most of you have seen 9/11 tributes on TV and the web this week and weekend. My goal was to separate this piece from other productions, by stripping down the day to it’s most basic element: emotion.

I want to thank every Southwest employee that helped in the creation of this video, especially those interviewed. I know it wasn’t easy to open up, and reveal those true, inner feelings. Since you opened up, I will too. After compiling about 20 interviews and traveling to Gate 17 in Newark (the departing gate for United Flight 93), I finally headed off to Ground Zero. When I got there and soaked in the scene, I could barely hold back tears. In that one moment, pieces of every interview rushed into my mind. All I could do was gaze at the construction of the new tower and let the sight consume me.

I truly appreciate you for viewing this piece, and just ask that you take some time today and reflect on what 9/11 means to you.

Note: Here's a link to the video on the company's Youtube account: