This is my first draft on the Inquiry 2 assignment. I decided to write on a video of 9/11 survivors reflecting on the attack because 9/11 was an event that many Americans lost their lives in and a day that many resonates with many Americans that were around at the time. This video is able to evoke slightly different reactions from two different audiences — those directly affected and then all of the other Americans at the time. In this rough draft I focused on describing the ethos, pathos, and kairos that I noticed within the seven minute long video and how the producers of the video were able to appeal to each of those aspects using different cuts and camera angles as well as background music. They are able to make the audience feel like they were there by the use of visuals, audio, as well as narration. I would like feedback on if this is an effective rhetorical analysis and if this is a good topic to reflect on. Moreover, I would like for you to point out areas where the analysis is strong and areas where it is weaker. Also, how I should better format the essay and what should be removed and what should be added.
New Yorkers Remember 9/11, Fifteen Years Later
September 11th, 2001, is a day that is recognizable to all Americans. It was the day where terrorists hijacked multiple commercial airplanes and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center towers, one into the side of the Pentagon and a fourth one was headed for the U.S. Capitol before it was overtaken by passengers and diverted to a field in Pennsylvania. It was the day that claimed the lives of nearly three-thousand Americans. In 2011, a memorial opened at the site of the attacks where the World Trade Centers once stood. At the memorial there are twin reflecting pools with the names of all of those who lost their lives engraved into the panels alongside the pools. In 2016, the History Channel created a video titled New Yorkers Remember 9/11, Fifteen Years Later. The video focuses on the stories of six individuals, some of whom worked in the World Trade Center, some who worked in the city and some of which worked for the fire departments that were deployed to the scene that day. They all look back on the event and remember it as a day where they were given a second chance at life, while many others lost theirs.
The first twenty or so seconds of the video began by showing different camera angles of where the towers used to stand and then close-ups of the roses that people have left on the memorial and different shots of people there paying their respects. The first woman who began telling her story had worked on the 82nd floor of one of the towers. Video footage of the New York skyline with blue skies popped into the screen as she described how happy she was to go to work where her desk looked out of the window of the 82nd floor and how silent it was throughout the office just moments before the plane crashed. This is where the calming piano music in the background stopped and video footage of the towers on fire appeared in the screen. As the stories progressed to what took place when the tragedy unfolded, video clips of the planes crashing into the towers and people running from the towers emerged while their voices still narrated their stories in the background.
The video was produced by the History Channel which is a well known and credible source. Moreover, the individuals in the video were able to provide exact details of their day and where they worked and in which of the Trade Centers or for what fire department. They now work for the September 11th Memorial, Ground Zero. The video was published to YouTube shortly before the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy. This was the fifth anniversary of the memorial opening and a decade and a half after the tragedy. I think that the kairos of this video was pretty strong. Numbers that are divisible by five represent stronger milestones than numbers that aren’t divisible by five. While it wasn’t a full decade or two decades after the attacks, it was a good milestone to have an update from the survivors and see what they are doing now – working at the memorial.
The memorial video strongly incorporated pathos. The footage of the buildings on fire and debris falling everywhere allowed for everyone in the audience – like myself – to really comprehend the images that the survivors were describing. It forces us to put ourselves in there shoes and think about how terrified we would feel as we tried to escape from the 82nd floor of a burning building or how fearful we would be as someone on the outside, not knowing if our friends, families, and colleagues were okay.
Even as someone who did not live in New York City and was not old enough to truly remember the details of where I was or what I was doing when the event took place, I still feel a deep connection to this tragedy from just being a fellow American. The intended audience was other survivors as well as just other Americans. From the viewpoint of someone who had lost family, friends, or colleagues in the attack, I would imagine the pathos of this video would be even stronger than it already is or at least evoke stronger emotions from that audience because they were personally affected and lived through this tragedy.